A complex information structure contains a number of thought centers. As in all organizations, the different centers are specialized in particular functions. Thought centers completely surrounded by other thought centers and thus not in contact with the external world will specialize in more abstract, more coordinating functions. Thought centers at the outside of the structure will specialize in all different kinds of more concrete functions.
Although there is some hierarchy in the organization corresponding with the hierarchy of abstractness, this hierarchy is not strict at all. It is better to consider the organization as a collection of specialized centers which provide services for each other. The coordination of several actions must be considered as a service too.
Thought centers which are in frequent contact with each other maintain synchronized thoughts in all these centers. This does not mean that the thoughts in all these centers are the same but they are in correspondence with each other. They are different because of the specialization of the thought centers.
Thought centers specialized in functions which are currently not applicable are not active (or insulated). They would only loose energy by trying to interfere with things they do not understand. So, in a complex information being, these is a restricted active set of thought centers in which synchronized, coordinated thoughts are maintained. Such collection of thought centers is called a "coherent thought field."
Abstract elements can coordinate activity in an entire coherent thought field. As activity goes on, the subject changes. Some other thought centers start contributing while others withdraw their influence. This makes the coherent thought field dynamic.
The contact between thought centers is not permanent. The synchronization between thoughts is obtained by frequent short contacts. As the thought center experiences that the internal thoughts are getting synchronized, and it experiences a gain of energy (appreciation), it will increase its frequency of contacts.
The flow of thoughts can also cause the situation where an element starts feeling its contributions do not longer fit in the other thoughts. To avoid loosing more energy, it will decrease the frequency of contacts and by this reducing its influence. This increased insulation causes further deviation of the thoughts and finally it becomes excluded from the coherent thought field.
A thought center regulates the effective insulation between its internal thoughts and the coherent thought field by varying the frequency of contacts. Because this insulation can be varied in a continuous way, the borders of the field are fuzzy.
A thought center will always make sure to be more or less in synchronization before increasing its influence. This avoids disturbances and serious losses of energy.
A student which has difficulties in following a course insulates himself from time to time to think. By the increased insulation, his thoughts deviate further from the current state of the course. Finally he looses the threat.
Abstract elements gain experience resulting from many concrete experiences. To obtain this, each new experience may have only a relatively small effect on the abstract information. If not, the abstract information would be influenced too profound by the most resent concrete experiences and cannot grow very abstract.
This mechanism of short contacts provides the vertical insulation necessary for this protection. The less frequent the contacts, the higher the insulation of the abstract element. Moreover, the thought centers between the abstract information and the external world serve as buffer between the abstract element and the external world. For the effective functioning of this buffering, a center is never in direct contact several other centers at the same time. This mechanism protects the abstract information from direct interactions with the external world.
This makes it possible for a complex information being to hold some powerful abstract information which is physically not stronger than the other elements of information. By physically stronger I mean there is not more energy invested in the induration of the element. Still the information can perform properly its management job because it is better protected than the more external information elements.
The president of a state is not necessary physically stronger than the other citizens.
To explore the complex interactions between thought centers, we can imagine ourself to be a thought center surrounded by other thought centers. Some of these surrounding thought centers do have a more abstract function while others have a more concrete function. In the description, I will refer to a more abstract center as "a higher center" and to a more concrete center as "a lower center."
Since our previous contact with the higher center, the flow of thoughts in the higher center is advanced a few steps. The concretization of one abstract step requires in general several concrete steps. The advance made in our flow of thoughts is not yet as far advanced as the thoughts in the higher center.
Because of this difference in speed between higher and lower centers, a new contact with the higher center provides us some information about the future or what is supposed to be realized next by the more abstract center. During this contact, our less advanced context will pull back the more advanced context of the higher center to a point closer to our state.
Upon each contact with the higher center, our context is slightly pulled forward (exceptions come later). The contact with the higher center causes a conditioning of our elements as a preparation of a situation which is supposed to appear shortly at more concrete level.
After the short contact with the higher center our thought center becomes insulated again. At this time the internal context gives rise to advancing thoughts using our specialized experience related to the context and related to the suggestions just received. When contacting a lower thought center, our context is affected again. In a normal case, the advancement of the thoughts in the lower center did not yet reach the point of our context. So our thoughts will be pulled back slightly (at the same time pulling the context of the lower center in a specific direction).
After a contact with a lower center our context is pulled back to a state in which it was not long ago. The experience describing the transition from this state to the next in the flow of thoughts is still in an excited (conditioned) state. This experience will immediately attack the context and transform it to the next state as suggested by the more abstract center.
Notice the frequent rehearsal of the actions which are supposed to come in every thought center. The rehearsal is pulled back frequently but advances each time a little bit further.
An abstract flow of thoughts is translated in many steps of more concrete thoughts and finally in concrete actions as described above. Because the abstract thought prepares the main lines of the steps to be followed by the more concrete elements in advance, the abstract thought-flow can be called an abstract plan. The mechanism as described above illustrates how such abstract plan is realized by interacting thought centers.
Thoughts in a coherent thought field are not completely synchronous. If everything runs smoothly, the most abstract thoughts are a great deal in advance on the concrete realization. At every level in between, the next steps to be done are prepared and rehearsed.
The concretization of an abstract plan does not always works out as smoothly as described above. In many cases, some concrete problems are encountered and parts of the plan must be reconsidered.
Suppose we contact a lower center suggesting a transition of the context in a particular direction. It is possible that this lower thought center holds some memory of a similar transition with bad results. This causes an anticipation of pain. To avoid this pain, the shared experience of our center and the lower center is used to find another instantiation of the suggested flow of thoughts which does not cause the anticipated problem.
The avoidance of an anticipated problem by choosing an other instantiation of the suggested plan is not always possible. In this case, the anticipated pain sustains in our thought center. Upon the next contact with the higher center, the context of the higher center will be pulled back as usual. After this pull back of the higher context, the higher center will pull again the context in the planned direction which caused the problem at lower level. At this point the memory of the pain when going in that direction overwhelms both centers. Now the experience of our center can be used in cooperation with the experience of the higher center to find a way out. This is a search for another instantiation of the plan coming from an even higher center.
This climbing up of the problem goes on until a level is found where a new plan is considered which is supposed to avoid the pain. The modified plan is instantiated as usual.
Matter is indurated information. Molecules form clusters of cooperating atoms (smaller information structures). Molecules vibrate and have frequent short contacts (reduced insulation) in the same way thought centers do. All what is described about thought centers applies as well to atoms, molecules, biological cells, bodies, companies, stellar systems and much more.
More in next chapter on Information as organizing force
This is Chapter 13; Interaction between Thoughts of
Behavior of Information
Author: Luc Claeys. All comments welcome, mail to lcl at this site: nanohome.be
Last updated on Nov 12, 1997