Page 200 - MODES of EXPLANATION

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be observed or scaled directly. The method of adaptive management works well because it
plays both sides in an orderly manner (Figure 14.3). A model for management is created,
perhaps for forest management. At level n it is put into action. There will of course be
processes of emergence that arise as the model is implemented. Trees in a forest management
example may grow faster or slower than the model suggests. Depending on what is desirable,
the forest plan is kept, perhaps amplified, or it might be countermanded. In this iteration back
and forth, the management is improved in scientifically justifiable ways. In all this the
essence is driven to change, so it cannot be defined. We are finding what is a good thing to do
even in the absence of definition.
[insert Figure 3]
Figure 14.3
The cycles applied to adaptive management, which works because the
dynamics of this figure form a figure of eight, iterating from one side to the other.
Holding on to identity despite material turnover
The openness of living systems means that as structures, they are not made of the same stuff
over time. In humans, even bones are flushed through about every seven years, and other
body parts much more often. We are like the woodsman’s axe that has had its handle replaced
ten times, and the adz twice; and yet it is still the woodsman’s axe. Allen’s body has turned
over completely as to what it is made of some ten times in his life; and yet it is still him. So
what is he, exactly? The relationship between the essence and realization can help here. In
biosocial systems there are two sets of components. One is material and molecular, the other
is informational. The material part obeys thermodynamic equations. Processes like that are
scale-dependent. Size in biology affects all sorts of rates. But information is not scale-
dependent in this way. As a result, an organism can get information from the essence that
realized it, even though the organism is newborn. The information it received from the
essence has taken millions of years to accumulate. Many past foals and mares have had
experience that tells the foal what to do about its mother.
The notion of information wrinkling time applies to humans, not just in terms of
evolution but in day-to-day living. Your credit card company does not care who uses your
credit card, so long as you meet its expectation that you pay. As your physical self materially
flushes through, what remain over time are your expectations and those for you of the world
around you. It is through capturing distant information that living things do indeed anticipate.
The transfer of information in evolution fills biology with anticipation. An example
arises in allelopathy, as it presents some problematic experimental results. Allelopathy is
chemical warfare in plants. Problematically it cannot be shown directly, because it is always
in the middle of an evolutionary flux. A straightforward logic applied to allelopathy might
look for the direct effects of a poison collected from the allelopathic plant. The test is then
simply to show a poisonous effect of eluted washing collected from an allelopath. Such
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