Communication is one of the many skills which externalize in each externalization cycle (see chapter 15). Communication can be recognized an all levels of externalization. It is a very fundamental property of information.
At the very deepest level, in a pair of opposites, the spontaneous dissolving of the insulation (energy) between the poles can be described as communication. Communication reduces the differences between separated information structures.
Communication between complex information organisms reduces also the differences between the information structures. However, at this, more complex level, the communication, and by this the mutual influence is very selective.
The externalization process binds a number of features in each feature of the externalization. The primitive property of communication, reducing differences, has been combined with many other features during externalizations. By this, complex communication between intelligent beings is based on much more features than the old communication skills.
It is interesting to follow an externalization cycle while concentrating on communication. Besides the information about communication between more complex beings, the study allows us to indurate our notion of externalization (instantiation). More particular, it allows us to see how the necessary mapping between the capabilities of an element and the organism is formed.
It might seem useless to start the explanation of communication by the supposition that communication skills already exist at a smaller (more abstract) level. This is necessary because our study of the development of communication skills is the study of a recursive phenomenon. As in the general study of the externalization cycle, we choose a starting point and follow the development until the starting point is reached on a larger scale (externalized).
When refusing this recursive approach, we could start tracing back the origin of communication. We can indeed follow the origin of communication over a number of evolutionary cycles. This would lead us to communication skills which are embedded very deep in the structure of matter. To be able to use this knowledge at scientific level, to anticipate the behavior of other structures, it is sufficient to describe the phenomenon at the deepest possible level and measure the quantitative aspect.
Imagine we decide to study visual communication in the non recursive approach. A part of this study would be the study the sensing capabilities of the eye as an organ of our organism. The eye communicates with our brain. This communication of two organs in our organism is based on communication between cells (again one step lower). When we are not yet satisfied, we can go on digging deeper and investigate the communication between cells. The communication between cells is based on communication between molecules (again one step lower). When we are still not yet satisfied, we can go on digging deeper and investigate the communication between molecules. The communication between molecules is based on interaction (communication) between atoms (again one step lower). When we are still not satisfied, we can go on digging deeper and investigate the communication between atoms. The communication between atoms is based on communication between subatomic particles. Usually, science stops here by measuring carefully the properties of such subatomic interaction and describe it as a law of nature.
The communication between companies or between any human organizations, is based on the communication between human (elements).
The development and maintenance of an organization requires extensive communication between the elements. The communication as such is not new when the organism develops but the organization of the increasingly strict communication paths is specific for the organism.
Elements which had the general capability for communication fulfill specialized functions in the organization. The meaning of the existing abstract messages understood by all elements before the specialization becomes interpreted more concrete depending on the circumstances in which the element resides. This is a form of instantiation. The message is still the same abstract message but the interpretation by a specific element in the information organization has become specialized, more restricted, instantiated.
Our cry "look out" has a general, abstract meaning. As people fulfill a more specialized function in an organization, the reaction on such abstract message becomes specialized too. A car driver will look around and prepare to break, a wood cutter will look around what tree is falling, a computer operator will verify the prepared command before executing it.
Smooth operation of a complex organization requires an extensive communication. As the elements become specialized, they are not longer interested in all messages between other elements, they become very selective in what information they are interested in. The internal selection process of the messages becomes externalized and expressed in communication channels. Elements attempt to receive the messages in which they are interested clearly and they do not want to be bothered by messages in which they are not interested.
Such externalization of the selection of messages is clearly visible in a developing company. At first the whole company (3 persons) resides in the same room and everybody hears everything. As the company develops, walls and shields are installed to make the communication more selective. The walls block also the messages which are intended to be general. Therefore a paging system is installed.
Because the specialization involves at first the non vital functions, information related to those functions which are still performed in every element must be distributed to all elements by a broadcasting system.
In a company, general meetings, newsletters or a paging system are used to communicate such information. In our society, radio, television and newspapers are used. In our body, the hormonal system is used to broadcast general information (old fashioned communication still understood by all cells).
Elements in an organism have still the capabilities to communicate (interact) with external elements. The development of senses in an organism is not the development of sensing capabilities but the integration of sensing capabilities in the organization (externalization). Those capabilities are immediately integrated in the internal communication system of the organism.
The model of the world developed by the elements in the previous externalization cycle is now part of the model of the organization. The communication between the elements is now used to synchronize those models. The model of the organism in a specialized element is also specialized; the details about the function in which the element is specialized are more elaborated than in other elements.
The network of all those models of the organism synchronized by communication forms the awareness of the organization (see chapter 18). The extension of this model to the environment stimulates the development of the senses. The information gathered by the senses is immediately integrated in the model which is extended now to the model of the own organization and a part of the environment.
The model of the own body and environment is permanently updated by the following elements. The senses update the external parts of the model. The internal communication (internal senses) update the internal part of the model. The model updates itself by the flow of thoughts in each element. The model is updated by the internal initiatives for (planned) actions.
The thoughts express the gained experience by anticipating the state of the model. By the extension of the awareness of the organization to the environment (by senses and extension of the model), the experience in the model includes the relation between the own actions and the changes in the environment.
This effects of the own actions are sensed now and the results of the senses confirm mainly what is already anticipated internally. When the sensed pattern does not corresponds with the anticipated result, the action is corrected to obtain what has been planned. This usage of the feedback from the senses develops a direct mapping between what is expected to be sensed and the planned actions (active sensing) (development of reflex arrows).
The experience in the thought centers of the model of the own being and environment attempts to anticipate every change in the environment to distinguish unexpected external changes from normal external changes.
At first, the organism is not yet aware of other organisms. Changes caused by other organisms are followed as unexpected changes. The experience developed by the sensing of the own actions fits almost completely to the changes caused by the other elements. This causes the experience of the own actions to be shared by the experience to follow those external changes. The sharing of the experience to anticipate the changes caused by other familiar organisms is the base for the recognition of the other, external organisms. The integration of this experience in the total model extends the awareness to the others. The own body (organism) can now be distinguished, not only from the environment but also from the others of the same kind.
The knowledge in the thought centers which is used to follow the own actions and the actions of the others, gains experience from both following own actions and by following actions of others of the own kind.
In other words, sequence of the actions of the others and the effect those actions have on the environment is recorded in the thought centers which coordinate the same kind of actions of the own organization. This is the first phase of communication between organisms of the same kind.
Nothing has to be added to the description above to explain learning by communication. Even in this primitive form of communication as described above, the sequence of actions executed by the other beings and the result of these actions upon the environment becomes available in the thought centers which coordinate and memorize the own actions of the same kind. Learning from observation of others becomes possible.
In the communication described above, the action of the others are not intended for communication. The actions are the normal actions performed by all information beings: transforming information in the environment.
This happens (each time) in an evolutionary stage where the awareness of the organism is extending from the unique self to the environment and to the existence of others of the same kind in the environment.
Due to this extended awareness, the organism becomes aware of being observed. It becomes aware of the effect of the own actions on the behavior of others due to this communication. This awareness affects the own behavior. This is the starting point of active communication.
An increasingly important part of the actions becomes oriented towards communication. Some actions are mainly intended for communication and the "visible" part of the actions is exaggerated to facilitate the communication.
The original intention of an action of the organism is to transform some information of the environment (change something in the environment). Actions basically intended for communication do not require full instantiation which is required for the original action. Only the part of the action observed by the others is important.
Intentional communication evolves towards a kind of actions in which the original action is only imitated. These imitated actions evolve to become symbols.
Bees remember the place of an interesting source of honey by remembering the bath from the hive to flowers. The path is remembered by remembering the direction of the path relative to the position of the sun. They are able to communicate this direction (and may be more details) to other bees in the hive by reproducing the movements they perform to follow the path without actually flying. They move as when flying and jump repeatedly under the angle which is to be communicated, the angle between the path to follow and the direction of the sum.
Because the simulated action does not has to be performed, a part of the instantiation required for the action can be left out. The restriction in instantiation creates the possibility for direct communication of more abstract elements. The expressed symbols become more abstract.
Communication by symbols causes a direct communication of thought centers at the same level of abstraction in both transmitter and receiver. As communication evolves, increasingly abstract symbols are used.
There is probably a tendency in the development of symbols used for communication towards the same abstract symbols used at lower (more abstract) level.
More in next chapter on Chemistry of language
This is Chapter 21; Communication of Behavior
Author: Luc Claeys. All comments welcome, mail to lcl at this site: nanohome.be
Last updated on Nov 12, 1997