Homeokinetics
The Physics of Complex Systems
Definitions


Anima

An ancient, probably first, idea of activation of things "out there" was by a spirit or spirits, thereby inducing motion. This finally resulted in Aristotle introducing the notion of force as an agent of change, for example, in motion. One then made the magnificent modern transition into science by following Newton into the so-called Age of Enlightment.

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Atomism

The word is used to denote both the doctrine and the object, like the usage of organism. An atomism denotes an atomic-like entity. It is a limited object of any size which is largely repeated in structure and character. It can withstand forces of interaction, such as collisions or other stresses, up to some level without breaking or cracking or otherwise permanently deforming. Yet it can bind with some of its counterparts or comparable units. It can possess and share mass, energy, momentum, or electric charge. A very important part of its specification is that like other so-called brownian particles, it can share its energy and actions with other smaller atomisms underlying it. It is that nested character, developed first observationally by the botanist Brown in an earlier century, and then provided by Einstein with a theoretical account in this century which has inspired us to the generality of how and why complexity of movement and change can be maintained at and among systems at all levels. Thus, see for example, our two papers, Soodak and Iberall (1978), Iberall and Soodak (1978) for two different levels of detailing a series of fundamental propositions about complex atomistic systems.

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Collective

In physical systems, pairs of atomistic particles can involve forces between them. In a group of such particles, the paired forces drive the system of particles to a collective motion. It is part of the character of physics to be able to identify such collective motions, such as the motion of a star, or galaxy, or stone, or stream of water. More generally, in complex systems, we are concerned with their collective stream of action.

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Complex

Complexity has many meanings. We elect to assign the notion of complexity in a physical system to processes of exchange among the atomisms of the collective which are much more extensive in time than their atomistic collisions. We imply nothing mysterious about the process except that the interior of those atomisms are each complex factory systems.

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Factory Day Process

What marks a factory is a large number of machines and engines performing a great number of processes spread out spatially at many operating stations, and temporally linked in a large up-down hierarchy of processes. Raw materials have to be brought in, stored, operated upon. Subparts have to be produced. Sales, accounting, and production processes have to take place as products are made and shipped. The processes are spread over an extensive physical domain and they are hierarchically linked and connected to satisfy scheduling and flows at a great number of time scales.

In our physical construct for complex systems, our complex atomisms are always such factories. Since another characteristic of a factory is that it has a total, often called bottom line, performance, which tends to define the total operational time scale, we have referred to that as the characteristic factory day. For many human-made systems, such a factory day is the Earth year. But for complex atomisms in nature, it can be anything from very small fractions of a second to the life-time scale of the universe.

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Force

In modern times, the notion of force 'caused' by direct action, or action at a distance, was introduced by Newton. This made understanding the nature of forces hard, because where do forces reside? Is the force a property of the actors? When two actors are about to collide, a force builds up between them (e.g., gravity between the Earth and moon). As they approach collision, that imminent process potentially involves some sort of virtual exchange with the vacuum. It is theorized that during the collision and its approach, there is a virtual material-energetic force carrier emergent from the vacuum. These have been identified for the force between electric charges (the virtual photon), gravity (the graviton), and weak nuclear forces (the w and z particles). Still missing is the carrier for strong nuclear forces and a demonstration of the graviton.

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Richness of intragalactic structures

What astronomers and astrophysicists have identified are gas and dust clouds, stars, planetary systems, planets, planetismals, and comets, with planets nesting many subsystems such as local gas, liquid and solid systems, including a rich geophysics and chemistry, as well as a rich biophysics and chemistry, supporting life, its command-control and social systems and processes.

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Language

If one understands the extensive space and time processing in complex factories, and the requisite and extensive field memory function to achieve all those processes, then language becomes a catalytic process that evokes action or potential images of action. What a catalyst will do is speed or slow down a 'chemical' reaction. That is what our language usages do in living systems at various levels. We speak to our organs, our cells, and to each other, and that controls the flow of our collective actions both in space and in time.

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Field Memory Function

A complex field factory system, involving extensive forces operating a great number of scales, has to be endowed with a memory. The question, without invoking human animation, is what serves as memory? The answer is that factory processes themselves, derived from the forces, map out such memory functions. This is just as true in any human-made system as in any natural-made system. The possibility of factors existing in human society or in nature involving an extended factory day process implies that there will be a great number of memory functions, spread out in space and time. Von Neumann, for example, used a circulating flow system for a short term memory in computers, and used storage in such things as magnetic domains for long term storage. In the body, we store more commonly as short-lived and long-lived molecules. Systems can use any material or energetics at hand for such memory functions.

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Vacuum

The quantum vacuum is not the completely empty space visualized in the 19th Century. In quantum theory, the quantum state of lowest energy of any system, even that of a simple mechanical oscillator, is generally not one of zero energy. The vacuum is thus a quantum state in which the total energy of all fundamental fields of nature is a local minimum, smaller than the energy of all slightly different states. It thus contains all fundamental fields, those of the fundamental particles, quarks and leptons, and those of the field quanta, through which the particles interact with each other, by strong, electromagnetic, weak, and gravity force. It is conceivable that other local minimum states much different from our current vacuum can exist or did exist in some past stage of our expanding universe. In fact, a transition from a possibly initial vacuum state to the current one shortly after the initiation of the big bang, is the basis of the inflationary model of the universe, the model that goes a long way toward explaining why our patch of the universe, out to the relativistic horizon, is very homogeneous and isotropic on the large scale.


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