Chapter 12 Model of Environment

12.1 Experience reflects the environment.

An information being gains experience with a specific environment. The experience is the memory of the outcome (joy/pain) of previously used mappings.

The experience allows the anticipation of the outcome of a new instantiation. In other words, the collection of the experience gained in an environment forms a model of the environment. This model is of course restricted to those parts of the environment which affect the outcome of the actions of the information being.

12.2 What experience to use?

The success of an instantiation of an information being depends largely on the environment. The same instantiation can succeed in one environment and fail in another. To anticipate the outcome of an instantiation, the information being has to know the environment.

Imagine an information being which is instantiated in the environment. At this moment, many elements of the information being are instantiated on specific elements of the environment. Now the environmental conditions change slightly (by the action of the information or by external causes). The change of the external conditions makes that some elements cannot longer stay in coherence with the external elements. They experience pain. Pain causes always an increase of vertical insulation and thus the removal of the instantiation of those elements which do not longer fit.

Because some of the elements are not longer instantiated, the instantiation of the information being is undone. Those elements which did not feel any pain are still instantiated, however, their instantiation is not longer imposed by a mapping. This situation has been called "the conditioning of elements" in chapter 5.

To find a new way to instantiate itself, the information being makes use of those elements which are still instantiated in combination with the experience. A new mapping which implies the instantiation of one of the elements which is in pain is immediately rejected because the pain is still actual in those elements. This pain situation is also a form of conditioning of the elements.

12.3 Internal context.

The set of all conditioned elements reflects the state of the environment. Therefore it is called the internal context. This conditioning keeps the state of the internal model synchronized with the environment.

12.4 Sensing.

The mechanism described above makes the state of the external world available inside the information being. This is called sensing. Sensing is a natural consequence of the basic mechanism of using experience and conditioning of elements based on the feedback from the environment. In a later chapter, we will investigate how this basic mechanism gives rise to specialized sensing organs.

12.5 Insulation from environment, thoughts.

When stepping from one instantiation to another, the internal model of the environment is kept synchronized with the environment by the mechanism described above.

If the abstract information suddenly insulates from the environment, all feedback of the environment ceases (vertical insulation). Immediately after the insulation, the conditioning which determines the internal context still exists (joy/pain condition in the elements). Based on this state, new instantiations will form. Because there is no feedback from outside, the only guidance comes from the anticipated joy/pain memorized in the experience. This anticipated joy/pain guides further development of the instantiations. By this, the internal context changes in a way similar it would change when interacting with the external world. However, it will only correspond with the external world as far as the model of the external world is correct.

This flow of changes of the internal context based on the model of the external world is called thoughts.

12.6 Thought centers.

A complex information being contains many information structures. Each information element which is not instantiated is able to sustain thoughts. Such element is called a thought center.

The different thought centers of an information being can be compared with the different departments of a company. When for example an engineering center insulates itself, there will be some thoughts (developments) which are mainly based on the experience in the center and not necessary in correspondence with the rest of the company.

12.7 Synchronizing thoughts.

The instantiation of an information being changes permanently by external interaction and by internal thoughts. Some thought centers which are able to sustain independent thoughts become part of a more abstract thought center by a mapping. Upon such change of instantiation, the internal context of the two parts mutually influence each other. This effect is called the synchronization of the thoughts.

As soon the mapping changes again, the thoughts become separated again and will continue independently in the abstract thought center and in the more concrete thought center. At this point, the abstract thought goes on without the restriction of the (experience of) the concrete details and the concrete thought center goes on without necessary bothering about the abstract goals of the system.

When the abstract information element reinstalls the mapping after a short time, a new synchronization of the thoughts takes place. A deviation of the abstract thoughts, which was not in correspondence with the experience of the concrete thought center, is corrected. The deviation of the concrete thought center, which was not in correspondence with the abstract goals, is also corrected.

We can compare the synchronization of thoughts by a meeting between a department of a company and the management. Some developments of the engineering department which are not in correspondence with the management objectives are corrected. Illusions of the management about planning are corrected by the concrete information of the engineering department.

By synchronizing the thoughts in two thought centers from time to time, the result is almost the same as if they where permanently synchronized.

12.8 Fast switching between mappings.

An abstract information element can map consecutively upon several more concrete thought centers. By switching between the two mappings, the thoughts in all three centers can be kept in synchronization. In other words, the abstract thought takes the possibilities and restrictions of the concrete centers into account. The thoughts in each of the concrete centers are corrected to become in correspondence with the thoughts in the main center.

By this there is also a mutual influence between the concrete thought centers. When one of the centers tends to develop an idea which is not in correspondence with the possibilities of another center, it will be corrected by the intermediate of the abstract center.

The management of a company can have consecutive meetings with the different departments to keep the system in harmony. The wild ideas of the engineering department cause some excitement of the management. Then the management has a meeting with the commercial department. The marketing manager can for example temper the excitement by stating there is no market for the wild developments of the engineering and remembering the fact that a previous engineering project becomes late and customers become nervous. The management switches back to a meeting with the engineering department and corrects some ideas.

12.9 Analogies.

When we switch a mapping in our mind between two facts, we easily detect analogies. Considering these analogies, we cause a fast switching between the mapping on these two more concrete elements. This switching of the mapping goes on to bring the two elements "in correspondence". It causes an abstraction of those elements which have been brought in correspondence.

Abstract information can be communicated by giving several more concrete examples the one after the other. This is to cause a mapping of the more abstract element onto several concrete examples which are generally known. The switching between the mappings is supposed to cause the detection of the analogy and by this an immediate induration of the abstract element.

12.10 Thinking while working.

After synchronization, a concrete thought center can interact with the external world while the abstract center retracts itself to think. The work can go on and can be kept in synchronization with the abstract goals by mapping on it from time to time.

12.11 Temporary insulation.

When an abstract element maps on a concrete element which is in contact with the external world, the changes of the entire context are restricted to the speed of the interactions with the external world. Thoughts can in general flow much faster when they are not restricted by external factors. Thought centers insulate from the external world when a more abstract element maps upon them. This increases largely the speed of the interactions between the different centers while having almost no effect on the even more concrete elements below. These elements are working on.

More general, a thought center is at most in contact (synchronizing itself) with only one other thought center.

When there is a meeting in a company between the general management and the head of the production department, the production manager insulates himself from the workers during the meeting. In the mean time the work goes on because the workers know what they have to do due to a previous meeting between the manager and each of the workers. The results of the management meeting are, as far as necessary, passed on to the workers. When the production manager meets a worker, the worker will lie down his tools (insulate from the concrete work) during the meeting.

12.12 Activity in thought centers.

An insulated thought center does not goes on thinking forever. Maintaining thoughts in an insulated center would cause an induration of experience which has nothing to do with "reality." The excitement of a thought center is related to the energy it has available for further induration of thoughts. This energy is acquired when in contact with another thought center or with the external world. The acquired energy is used to indurate the sustained thoughts. The energy can be suddenly removed when another mapping causes a drastic change in the conditioning causing a pain situation.

12.13 The brain.

There is a similarity between the described mechanisms and the mechanisms of our brain. However, the text above is not explaining the mechanism of our brain in particular. It is explaining the behavior of information in general. Because our brain is an induration of these mechanisms, we can recognize these mechanisms in the functioning of our brain.

More in next chapter on Interaction between Thoughts

This is Chapter 12; Model of Environment of Behavior of Information

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

Last updated on Nov 12, 1997