Bull. 3, 6, and 7 May 25, 1997
A Course of Study on Homeokinetics:
The Physics of Complex Systems
Physical Science Foundation
For Urban Organizations
Arthur S. Iberall
The question we are studying is whether there can be a true physical science foundation for the modern human species and its social organization. In answer, we have developed a general systems theoretic as the basis for modeling the dynamics of urban civilization. It has been compared with other systems views of systematic phenomena, e.g., society, living organisms. Its main ingredients are the physical elements of:
Ø atomisms - the system is made up of a collective of atomistic-like entities engaged in interaction
Ø conservations - atomistic movement and change can only be followed causally and systematically in terms of conserved quantities
Ø morphology and spectroscopy - the morphology of the system is defined by the inter-atomistic forces that create binding relationships; the temporal processes making up spectroscopy is a motional competition between binding rigidity and patterns of movement.
This very sparse number of elements is sufficient to characterize the order of all social collectives - natural, living, higher organismic social collectives, including modern humans in urban civilizations. In this essay, we provide a summary of our theory of urban organizations.
Utilizing concepts of general systems theory, the objective of this research is to construct a theory of regional and urban organization capable of describing dynamically the fundamental aspects of regional and urban growth, vitality, and the role played by transportation. The overall aim is to conceptualize a model, which has the potential for exploring long range alternatives. As a measure of the development of theory, four tasks were assigned. Those tasks were explored in four separate essays. In this final essay,
the requirements for such a dynamic theory, capable of exploring long range alternatives are outlined. It would be ideal if there was an extensive dense descriptive-experimental data base on which to theorize. Without it, the possibility of checking even the simplest of theoretical predictions, in any kind of general fashion, is thus very limited. There would be utility for such a data base for exploring long range alternatives (i.e., for making policy). Yet, whether or not such a database currently exists, it is still necessary to understand how our general systems theoretic joins up with the findings and philosophy of the social sciences. We will offer brief summaries of these different points of view.
Quantities are Conserved Within Transactions
A physically based science traces causality within a collective (e.g., a society of atoms, living cells, people) only in terms of basic conservations. Civilizations operate with only five 'conservations'. We identify conservations as those quantities which are conserved within transactions among society members. These are:
(a) Materials, in their atomistic form, are not lost, only transformed. An accounts balance of materials is required both for the living members of a society (e.g., 60 gr protein per adult per day), as well as in the flux of all artifacts used as materials of production.
(b) Energy is not lost, only transformed. Similarly an account balance of energy is required both for the living members of a society (e.g., 2000 kcal per adult per day), as well as that produced or consumed in the artifacts used for production, building, transportation, etc.
(c) Actions of all the subunits that enter into the ongoing collective have to be conserved. Action is defined as the product of energy x time. This conservation is a strange bridge between classical physics of simple systems and a physics for complex systems. Simple systems (e.g., simple molecules) exhibit their characteristics of motion and change by movement (momentum, which represents their conservation). Complex systems transform their external movement (or momentum) into internal actions (e.g., a living system eats; that energy transformation is used to power internal engines which permit the living system to function inside). For living systems, in which each member of the collective stays in persistent motion, the action is at least as great as the minimum dissipated energy (i.e., 2000 kcal is available each day to dissipate among human actions). The fact is that the modern civilized social collective puts more action into motion by artifacts, i.e., by technological augmentation it puts external machinery into motion. However, except for slave societies (e.g., the Nazis use of concentration camp labor, in which the residual stores of people-energy were simply used up and the people discarded), all rulers know that they must operate their societies so that people-action is expressible and supported. If a state policy is to permit increase of unemployment, e.g., to reduce inflation by some 'conventional' (19th Century) economic wisdom, rulers nevertheless know that they will have to support the people-action of the unemployed from public stores.
These action modes or states are easily determined by careful observation. For example, the action states are as follows:
Ø for ciliated bacteria - ingest, excrete, grow, divide, swim in a straight line, tumble;
Ø for mammals - ingestive behavior, eliminative behavior, sexual behavior, care-giving behavior, care-soliciting behavior, conflict behavior, immitative behavior, shelter-seeking behavior, investigatory behavior;
Ø for humans - sleep mode, work mode, interpersonally attend mode, eat mode, talk mode, attend mode, motor practice mode, anxiety mode, sex mode, euphoria mode, drink mode, void mode, anger mode, laugh mode, aggress mode, fear, fight, flight mode, envy mode, greed mode.
Social bureaucrats may be surprised to think of social regulation in terms of modes. Yet any organization manager - farmer, husbandryperson, jail keeper, corporate head, military leader, teacher - knows that command-control governance of the organized system must take account, in both formal structure and function, the characteristic modes of the individual and in collective ensemble. They provide a conservation whose fundamental nature cannot be changed. All collectives of complex atomisms, e.g., organisms, undergo their motion by modes.
(d) Population, for complex systems that live and die, is another conservation. Generation begets generation. This often does not strike scientists as the same kind of conservation as the 'simpler' physical variables of mass, energy, momentum. Nevertheless life-death systems have that same kind of invariance, for the life of the species. Thus, for example, if chemical reactions are required to keep a complex of chemical constituents in existence, that process is associated with conservations, e.g., of individual mass species; or, if nucleo-synthesis (birth and death of nuclear elements) is required to keep a star going, that process is exhibited by a conservation. Similarly, if living systems carry an onboard chemical code, which both assures reliable reproduction and a mode (sex) for reproduction, and reproduction of the species has been assured for countless generations from a remote past to the present, that process is representative of a conservation. If physics is regarded as governing cosmological processes, it just as well has to govern galactic, and stellar, and planetary processes, as it does the complex chemistry, including life chemistry, on a planet. The dynamics of a species (e.g., humans), or a breeding pool (within current cultural standards, almost all Americans now are within a common breeding pool) will vary with how this conservation reacts to external conditions, but it is only on very rare historical occasions that the conservation of the species is threatened.
(e) Value-in-trade is a final conservation which humans in modern society have added to their social intercourse. Other living species, even humans in pre-Neolithic existence, did not limit their social behavior by this conservation. In the social behavior of other animals, their formal processes and forms - packs, herds, and the like - are constrained by the four conservations named. Humanity, as hunter-gatherers for most of its existence (e.g., 40,000 ybp to 10,000 ybp - years before present), and even more recently as agriculturist (e.g., 10,000 ybp to 6,000 ybp), also conducted a social life basically only bound by the same four conservations. It was not until humans settled in place, rather densely concentrated in urban settlements, and began extensive trade with neighboring settlements, that a new conservation made its appearance, via value-in-trade, invented as a social constraint out of human mind. In each transaction outside of the family, value-in-trade is conserved (during the transaction. Your new car may depreciate in value $1,000 an instant after the transaction, but that has nothing to do with the validity of the existence of a conservation).
Conserved Quantities Can be Stored as Potentials
According to physical theory, a collective remains in persistent motion by virtue of the availability of supply potentials. Three of the central notions of physical theory are:
Ø the atomistic doctrine
Ø the notion of sustained motion of these atomisms, and
Ø the notion that the conserved quantities of physical theory can be stored as potentials.
If we add to this, Newton's notion of material hierarchy: "Now the smallest of particles of matter may cohere by the strongest of attractions, and compose bigger particles of weaker virtue; and many of these may cohere and compose bigger particles whose virtue is still weaker and so on for diverse successions...", we can generalize that construct as the physical foundation for a general systems theoretic. Thus, for example, a collective of molecules in a gas, liquid, or solid phase can be kept in persistent motion by the supply potential of temperature. Persistent motion among different molecular constituents can be sustained by the supply system of temperature, and a supply flux (acting as a potential) of chemical ingredients.
At the level of complexity of living systems, such as animals, the following potentials are required:
Ø a temperature potential;
Ø chemical potentials of various forms (a chemical potential is a technical concept that measures the storage 'concentration' of various chemical ingredients. The animal living system lives in an ecological web and draws required chemical potentials from that web. Thus, by what it eats or otherwise utilizes, it obtains materials, and energy supplies. It may also enter into symbiotic relationships with other living species to select or modify action modes. Humans as agriculturists, for example, spend a lot of time in what appears to be symbolic connection with agricultural rituals. Earlier, as hunter-gatherers, related rituals were connected to the animal prey);
Ø genetic chemical potential -- one chemical potential, encoded as DNA, is carefully carried aboard and transmitted from generation to generation. The chemical potential assures the reliable reproduction of both the form - morphology - and function - action spectrum - of the species.
Modern humans (40,000 to 10,000 ybp, as hunter-gatherers and agriculturists, pre-civilization) added two more potentials out of mind. Note that the genetic potential was carried aboard, so that all potentials do not have to be 'external' to the system. But the genetic potential was clearly physical. Now we turn to two that appear to be 'mental' (Note that the genetic potential has only turned out to be assuredly 'physical' for the past two generations, although it was conjectured during the last century. The two we shall now refer to may be similarly hypothesized as being real and physical, and in time provably so, but it would be denied by many as representative of 'morphologies' that could ever be physically untangled). These new potentials are:
Ø the tool making or technological rate potential. The human mind (and earlier hominid ancestors for the past two and one half million years - we identify mind as the patterned responses of the brain, an organ that has shown explosive evolutionary-developmental growth during the few million years of the past Pleistocene Age) can add increasing functional capability by tools. All living systems have a world image of self and outer world. A tool is neither self nor outer world but a material-energetic system which can be manipulated between self and outer world to augment motor, sensory, or even cognitive capability of the living system. The major effect of tools seems to be the augmentation of the power or motor capabilities of the human. Loosely speaking the rate of adding technological potential seems to be grossly constant for each of the hominid species or subspecies. Averaged over multiple generations, it appears that the capability of each generation to add comparable increments to technological potential is the same (for that species).
Ø the epigenetic potential. This potential, associated with value systems and language and human culture, is the ability to transmit a learned and modifiable heritage from generation to generation. Judged from extensive symbolic artifacts, this only begins with modern humans about 40,000 ybp.
The Potentials Can Characterize the Collective Motion
Given the potentials, the existence of a space-time field which furnishes some boundary confinements, physical theory of a general systems nature begins to grossly characterize the persistent collective motion that will take place. Thus, for example, if known given molecules are introduced into a container and held at a given temperature, the sustained motion of this collective can be described. Or, if a known bacterial type is introduced into a container which is supplied by a flux stream containing known chemical nutrients and ingredients (as required chemical potentials), at a given temperature, the characteristics of an equilibrium collective can be prescribed. Our claim is that in comparable fashion, the general characteristics of a human collective can be prescribed. That is, the latter problem is one that has been faced many times by tribal (or often military) leaders, who move into a territory of apparent ecological (chemical) and climatic (e.g., temperature) potential , with a group of adequate size, and possessing a particular historical level of epigenetic potentials. However, the general systems physics for the latter case of human societies, particularly when the human groups precipitate and become symbiotically tied to Earth via agriculture, and solid state-like, begin convective trade to satisfy their conservations, becomes extremely complex. This is not surprising. Liquid physics is more complex than gas physics. Solid state physics has more complexity. When chemical process change is added, further complexity has to be faced. When the complex of chemical reactions that are required to maintain the living system is encompassed, the physics of organisms is quite confusing. And when the complex of physical-chemical processes that go on in the human brain is reached, the societal physics becomes extremely complex. The usual notion, in the 19th Century, has been to slough off such theory from the physical sciences and separate them as independent social sciences. That was the path taken by de Saint-Simon, Comte, Spencer, Marx, and others. However, the social sciences have not been able to provide a universal set of principles. Thus, we return to the physical sciences for fundamental principles, and propose to augment them with the composite findings of the social sciences.
Steady state persistent motion, primitive society
The physics of the steady state of a simple system, such as a gas ensemble, need not be described here. It is contained in standard textbooks (see, for example (1)). We have cast some light on what the physics of an ensemble of simple living things like ciliated bacteria would be like (2). In (2), we have also introduced a foundation for a social physics as it would be viewed by its physicist and anthropologist authors. It is relevant to the use of a physically-based general systems theoretic that its application be understood for all sorts of conditions. Thus, it is not inappropriate to the purposes of this study to illustrate how the principles are applied. The depiction here is a prototypic model for the persistent survival of an almost isolated (near ideal gas‑like configuration) human settlement that is organized for long term survivorship. We will not fix the technology and value system absolutely. It may be Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, or Iron; it may be hunter‑gatherer, or it may be agricultural, or pastoral. The steady state regulation process is being examined from the point of view of a leader-elite. One must note that such roles were being played out on this New World continent one to four centuries ago. It is not only ancient history.
For humans, the preferred climates are temperate, although there is marginal capability up to arctic limitations (with sufficient advanced tool technology) and in tropical climes. Loosely speaking, the region of insertion specifies the climatic‑temperature potential
More localized, the specific potential which is of major concern is water supply. More constantly available, streams and lakes are preferred sources. Thus river valleys serve as major orienting local regions for a social system. Intermittent supplies (oases) and wells are less preferred sources. Dry regions (e.g., those with less than 20 inches per year rainfall) all pose special difficult problems for living.
Whether hunter‑gatherer, or agricultural-pastoralist, when a human group moves into a region, the daily roaming range that develops will likely fall in the 100‑1000 square mile range and will involve a group of perhaps 25‑200 people. A hunter‑gatherer society will pay attention to the daily and seasonal habits of its animal and floral prey. The animals (e.g., predators and grazers) will similarly pay attention to the habits of their ecological prey. And the lowest levels of the ecological web will attend to their climatic variations. Thus, given a region and its ecological members, the hunter‑gatherer society is fairly fixed, ecologically, to its style of living. A roaming range of up to 25 miles diameter is fixed by the size of the human animal and its carnivore characteristics. That size also fixes the daily energy consumption (i.e., 2000 kcal/day) and what is available for daily action (as activities). The specialized abstractionist (e.g., speech, abstract cognition) characteristics of the human brain result in the extreme diversity with which a division of labor can be achieved. It is such activities that the elite leader, with a given technological potential and a given epigenetic value system, organizes for a given characteristic of the land into which he and his group is inserted. Such patterns of organization are exemplified in (3).
What happens with such a group in time? Basically the same physical process that happens among simple gas molecules. Interactions take place as fluctuations with average scales. The things that change are related to the technological potential and the epigenetic value system.
The things that happen, in common with other living species, is an occupation of all available ecological niches. Thus, with the insertion of a group into a relatively rich region (rich in chemical potentials, which are exploitable at relatively low energy and action cost for the given technological potential), there is a speeding up in the doubling time, as measured in generations, and its broadcast into neighboring regions. Loosely speaking, the size of the group and its roaming range essentially remains constant. A basic illustration of that process was the expansion of agriculturists into temperate Europe after the last ice age, beginning about 8000 ybp (4), and loosely 'completed' by 5000 ybp.
Any detailed physical study of demographic growth suggests that different causality is involved in the total global growth of the entire species, and the growth associated with any local cultural entity. The point to that remark is that apparently no major changes in total global growth rate of the modern human species took place at the end of the last ice age 12,000 ybp. (Loosely speaking the only two significant changes in global rate occurred when man, homo sapiens sapiens, began as a modern subspecies 40,000 years ago, and in modern times in about 1750, the modern so‑called demographic transition.) Yet, on the other hand, agricultural precipitation and local densification toward agricultural villages begins soon after, i.e., l0,000 - 8,000 ybp.
Thus, before considering the consequences of the settled urban life ‑ which is an elaboration of mobile hunter‑gatherer or nomadic life (physically a liquid‑plastic state of matter rather than a gas‑liquid state of matter) - we summarize societal life as a chemical bonding among members of a species, which by virtue of their preprogrammed epigenetically adapted action modes, make use of their ambient potential to survive. In brief, they 'ingest' their local potentials so as to continue to turn over, in motion, their conservations. They 'eat' to 'move', so that they can continue to eat to move. It is that circular causality ‑ an interplay between the species and its available potentials ‑ which is responsible for the autonomous survival of complex systems. It includes reproductive capability, for living systems, and ‑ later when necessary ‑ value‑in‑trade for modern urban systems. That picture presents the steady state character of the system. However, there are three sources that may change the steady state:
(a) there may arise vicissitudes in the external environment (change in climate, flood, hurricane, volcanic action, erosion);
(b) there may arise interaction from external social agents (invaders, refugees); and
(c) there may arise parametric changes in local social stability (level of technology, population density).
We will discuss the nature of dynamic change in society subsequently.
Swarming Movements of Hominids
Before discussing dynamics, there is one surprising aspect of hominid existence that has recently emerged from prehistoric study. The 'swarming' (outbreeding of new social units by movements typical of the species) of the hominid species over its habitat in search of new ecological niches has expressed itself as mosaics of sympatric forms, in which groups of different traditions (e.g., tool traditions) have been involved in common occupancy of segments of their niches. While this represented an interesting form of enhancement of social binding, e.g., it certainly enhanced diffusion ‑ of materials, energy, technologically modified action modes, people ‑ its profound influence on the character of modern society cannot be underestimated. This entwinement of cultural characteristics acting through the epigenetic potential has been quite influential in casting the forms of later civilizations. The point is well made in the case of ancient Egypt, i.e., the history of desert oases dwellers and river dwellers, who ultimately were responsible for the unification of the two kingdoms, the red and black lands associated with the civilization of the Nile (5).
The ambivalence built into the human brain, beginning from hominid ancestors in which all things can be 'tools' (abstractions used to further ends), not only material things but even living things (e.g., domestication of animals) or other people (by force as slaves; by legal contract) is what has created the specific forms that organized social life, including civilizations, has taken (6). Internal language acts as catalyst.
Dynamic transient state, primitive or modern society
The physical logic of disturbances seems clear. In a simple society, e.g., hunter‑gatherer, hominid, if a natural disturbance takes place, the society may either die out or it may move on. The camps or families that are bonded to the group may disperse individually or as a group. It is a fact that is seldom stressed in modern urban history (i.e., for the past 6000‑8000 ybp) that the opposite side of the process coin has always been going on. When any particular region has some form of disaster, there was a movement of fragments of their society into other regions. (Trace every ethnic immigration into the New World over the past 500 years, or, attempt to trace every 'ethnic' immigration into Europe for the past 8000 years. We understand the 'synchronic' view that most readers may take about such ideas, holding fast to the notion that all past change is ended and the 'now' is firmly cemented. But our ancestors ‑ in fact our parents ‑ came to this continent only three generations ago, and since then there have been at least six waves of newer immigration, associated with various catastrophes, mainly wars). The general principle that seems to be at work is that with every fluctuating character to the available earth potentials, there is a social movement toward dispersing the life process. Loosely speaking this means that change, in particular change in the conservational variables, will be representable by first order relaxational kinetics for each conservation.
Since the social system (atomistic organisms, and their bonding forces) is produced from dynamic causality at another hierarchical level, e.g., the forces that create the biological organism and its organ (such as the brain) characteristics, that process is represented by steady state parameters.
But the only effect of such disturbances is to move the mean operating 'steady' state from one level to another. This has been represented commonly, by the simplest selection of mathematical ideas in the form of a logistics relationship, e.g.,
dx/dt = kx(1 – x/ x0)
k – rate constant
x0 - carrying capacity
x - limiting concentration
that is, in addition to a rate constant (e.g., for change in population or concentration) k there is a second parameter x0, commonly viewed as a 'carrying capacity' which defines some sort of limiting concentration x which the field can carry. It was the partial success of such a relationship in demography (as fostered by Verhulst, Pearl and Reed, and G. Yule) that has led to its adoption ‑ in demography, in ecology ‑ as a salient theory.
We do not regard it as such. We will not deny that there is chemistry at which second order kinetic processes will produce the limiting nonlinear x2 terms, but we will deny that this is the common kind of nonlinear process coupled into social dynamics. And we deny that the operative equation set is a single kind of equation, e.g., for population or concentration. The logistic equation may be suitable for tutorial purposes, or it may even be suitable ‑ in a limited sense ‑ for mathematical bridging, but it is not isomorphic with the real system. When used for bridging, one will find that the constants used are 'exogenous', and require ad hoc adjustments. We first showed this by taking Yule's 1925 logistic description of population of the United States, France, and England, and showing how it had drifted off after World War II. (Also see Baker, Sanders (45)).
The problem which is faced by both the people involved and the physical thing (literally they both have to perform the same process) is to figure out how to deal with and adapt to the changing conditions. In this adaptation there are two kinds of true constants:
Ø the kind that is fixed by well governed regular processes, e.g., the day, the season, the generation time;
Ø the time constants that are provoked by conditions of shock or revolution.
We simply do not have sufficient physical understanding to know how to deal with the very high impulse kinds of disturbances. We have faced it in our own lives in our relationship with our children when in certain transitional times of turmoil. We have seen it in society from the days of lynchings to race riots to revolutions to wars. The physics we know states that such shocks may in fact lose some determinacy, and as far as we can tell that may be the case. So we are not talking about such disturbances. However, we do believe that a carefully run system can minimize the effects of such catastrophic disturbances and is better prepared to take up after such disturbances have passed.
Dynamic steady state, primitive society
A primitive society does not have to deal significantly with value‑in‑trade. (This sentence requires some elaboration. For example, the Hudson Bay Cree Indians, in 1980, were a primitive society. Yet the elemental tasks they performed, as hunter‑gatherers, were performed in catalogue clothing, with catalogue steel tools, using gasoline powered chain saws. These were procured in a trading net in which these trade goods were received in exchange for beaver pelts. Primitive? Yes, but they are in the last throes of such life. The Indians, collectively, are considering forming a cooperative to handle their own trading, and they are negotiating with the Canadian government for a modus by which they can maintain their hunter gatherer style of life. But it is clear that they will soon be caught up more fully in a value‑in‑trade network that tends to govern their everyday life rather than only their seasonal life). It is often said that what distinguished a primitive from a modern society is the production of surplus that can produce value‑in‑trade. But it appears that both produce (and waste) as much 'surplus' as they need. The essential problem is the time scale and to what use the surplus is put.
Thus every society has its time scales, which develop as a rhythm of processes. The first external one is typically the day‑night cycle. The nominal physiological time constant of the body is about 3 1/2 hours. This appears, for example, in a relaxation time for hunger. People are thus driven into a searching cycle and eating cycle at least once a day. More broadly, the brain apparatus functions as a command‑control system to govern the discharge of most of the action modes each day. From the most primitive societies to the most complex, a full cycle of near routine daily performances that nearly balance all of the conservations takes place. Should there be a moderately severe disturbance in a modern society, e.g., an unexpected heavy rainfall, or snowfall, the costs in value‑in‑trade are enormous.
Every society knows that it has to develop a policy for daily actions. That ubiquity is so great that it needs to be stressed that this scale takes up the largest chunk of command‑control governance. (Every organization leader quickly learns that his major task is to learn what to do from day to day).
The second most important time scale is the rhythm of the seasons. Depending upon the particular habitat and its geography and climate, there are only a limited number of ways that the conservations can be served, for a given state of the technological potential. That range provides a distribution function for cultural diversity. That diversity will appear mainly in the epigenetic value potential, as the rules of tradition by which the daily and seasonal life process is maintained. A member of a modern society may not feel at home with such bare simple rhythmic processes, but usually if he finds himself caught up in such a primitive isolated society, he has to slow down and accept and adapt to those ways.
The third most important time scale is the rhythm of the generation. The sex mode, the general nurturing mode of mammals, encoded in the chemical potential of the genetic code, assures reproduction, issue, and nurture generation by generation. A very sharp definition is not needed. Loosely speaking it is a time scale between 21 and 30 years. We generally take 23 as a nominal number.
Note in that time the perceptions of the group change. The young grow into adulthood and learn the ways. The adults age. Generally, in a generation, the leadership is advanced to the next generation. The group may also have grown to a size where splitting is necessary.
However, there is at least one additional consequence of that advance in age and transfer in leadership. At this time scale there is the change of diffusion of new ideas from outside (Diffusion is a 'random' process which is not delivered coherently. Thus it may take place from any direction). The group is not so isolated as to have no contact with outside groups. The family unit is mobile, and it spreads relatives. At generation time scales, there is increased chance for the influx of new ideas into the epigenetic value potential, new ways of doing things. Thus the social process has the essential capability of spatial diffusion, e.g., a typical number is one roaming range per generation, or 25 miles/25 years (1 mile per year).
The major transfer actions in human society, e.g., pottery, copper, population movement, agriculture, iron, have diffused at this rate.
Two more time scales are worth mentioning. The human life span is about 90 years. At this scale there can be no further person to person transmission. It must all go through oral memory, through the epigenetic heritage. And beyond, there is a civilization scale ‑ a longest scale at which coherent policy seems to hold ‑ of about 500 years. With 1000 year separation, cultures become independent (7).
A society, primitive or not, does not work as a hard-geared clock. Thus, these tidal rhythms provide autonomous scales, but they do not provide full autonomy. Thus the social process requires leadership, command‑control. That command‑control transforms from largely personal, even internal at the higher frequency rhythms to societal at the slower rhythms.
The command‑control has to deal with vicissitudinal impulsive disturbances from many time scales. Some are to be expected, others not. There is no surprise that societies both primitive and modern develop a priesthood to keep track of disturbances and to prescribe. The modern science which we practice is descendant from such concerns.
Summary for Managing Primitive Societies
Loosely speaking, we have completed the descriptive physics of primitive societies. Know the conservations. Learn how to satisfy them. Know the time scales. Satisfy the conservations of these various time scales. Know how to adapt the conservations to those. Learn how to discern and react quickly to unexpected disturbances. Have a policy for dealing with their effects. Know how to pass on leadership and heritage. (Homilies? This is the descriptive physics that we have found explains how to conduct a group, run a small company, and the like).
Dynamic steady state, modern society
The transition to modern society involves:
Ø fixed urban settlement,
Ø the addition of a new conservation, value‑in‑trade.
Ø the epigenetic value potential becomes encoded in fixed (written) form.
Note the following time scales of transition. They may seem very remote and long to us, as compared to daily rhythms, but they must be recognized as unit process scalings that are pertinent to the form of human social organization. The earliest civilized trading chains known among fixed settlements, in Anatolia and Armenia, date back to about 5000 to 7000 B.C. The identification of such civilizations with ethnic character and with the emergence of specific belief systems, specific peoples, yet still with shadowy personas, date back to the Tigris‑Euphrates civilization (south of the Armenian centered group) of about 4500‑4000 B.C. The emergence of written records and personas, albeit ruler elites, begins about 3500‑3000 B.C. in the Tigris‑Euphrates city‑states, and in the unification of the two Egyptian kingdoms. Within another millennia, a few more civilizational centers also start up.
In characterizing the epigenetic heritage, as it relates to the human brain, it is important to recognize its major themes. These internalized themes are reflected in the character of urban civilizations. Centrally, the underlying character of brain is a secretory control of state. (Before nerves existed for speeded up long distance chemoelectric control, they existed for secretional control). That became efficient with layering, whereby an extensive memory and abstract processing of signal could take place at many levels (8).
But a point is reached, with that layered complexity and the abstractions that it can produce, at which the system is capable of self-reference, consciousness, and an abstract description of the world outside. (At present stages of development in artificial intelligence, the same questions are undergoing continued review. We predict that within the next few generations of such study, successful affirmative hardware demonstrations will be produced of these capabilities. We believe that they are 'only' associated with adequate layering, programming, and storage in computable logic systems. See for example (9)). At that point in evolutionary development, we have human's capability for culture. At that point, the epigenetic value system takes on the human shape.
Prior to the present time, we have not succeeded in defining the 'dimensions' of the epigenetic value system, although as a matter of common interest we had begun to discuss the issue with the well‑known political scientist‑sociologist Harold Lasswell. Via various studies and requests for commentary, we finally have arrived at the following tentative characterization of the value potential:
The manifold dimensionality of the epigenetic potential consists of a world image:
of interpersonal relationship
of ritual and institution
of other living organisms
of technology, more broadly of culture
of spiritual causality (fathers, leaders, gods)
of art forms (abstract representations designed to attract attention in sensory modes)
This potential, via its many dimensions, guides the ordering of the action modes as an organized social complex.
All of our study of modern urbanized civilization, see for example (10)) e.g., precursors in Jericho, Catal Huyuk onward from startups in Sumeria, Egypt, etc., through all 20 odd super civilizations up to the present time, has indicated the social pressure that two potentials, the climatological potential, and the geographic potential have exerted on the local social process. Clearly, among the epigenetic factors, the existing state of culture, e.g., the technological mode of production, has certainly been a major factor in outlining the formal institutional processes in society, e.g., as a change from Neolithic (e.g., beginning 11,000 ybp), to the post Neolithic developments of a Chalcolithic Age (ca. 7000 ybp), Bronze Age (ca. 5000 ybp), an Iron Age (ca. 3000 ybp), an age of mechanics and mechanism (ca. 2000 ybp), an age of chemically powered machines (ca. 1750), an age of interchangeable mass production (ca 1920), possibly an age of nuclear power ((ca. 1950). It is still too premature to tell whether this latter age will take. At present, any potential future is tied up with the socio‑economic success of fusion).
One can view modern society from the point of view of its self-organization. Loosely speaking, urban centers of population condense for 'ecological' reasons (that is, a band, which has been preconditioned by contact with other urban settlements ‑ this characterization does not deal with the question of the very first few such condensations ‑itself moves into settlement. This process, very loosely, can be noted in Europe, the Americas, Australia, the western, southern, and eastern peripheries of Asia), although it would be desirable for a great deal of documentation of the transition to agricultural villages, and to urban centers.
The more primitive social forms all reflected an internal organization based on family units. With the appearance of urban centers with convective trade among other centers, and particularly above a size threshold (e.g., 500. Loosely speaking, this is the maximum number of faces that can be personally recognized), the settlement as a 'solvent' contains other (other than family) social molecularities. These molecularities are largely vocational. This stems from the very fact that an urban center engaged in trade exhibits a much more extensive division of labor than earlier more mobile bands (hunter-gatherers, pastoralists).
The chemical physics of the process must be looked at as solution chemistry where the needs to satisfy the fundamental conservations, given local constraints, in fact leads to a variety of bonding groups, 'molecularities', but all in or nearly in solution in the social solvent.
The biological physics of the process, arising from the character of the human brain, is that the brain can form a great number of new ideas about productive associations, and ‑ quite different from most other species (except where symbioses are formed) ‑ can permit stranger some relatively free access to the urban settlement. If this were not possible (i.e., permitted by the human brain), there would be no connectively interacting urban settlements (instead, they could only split off and develop new bands or settlements. Such 'swarming' is one common means by which many species extend their range in their habitat by seeking out new niches). However, one notes that such 'free' access is marginal. Strangers still arouse many hackles. Much of the agonistic history of civilizations and their history and evolution involved such friend‑stranger interaction.
This solution chemistry stimulates the converse question: Are the emergent social molecularities fixed? The answer is no. First, the social system is much less constrained than the biological (the biological makes use of a hard-wired chemical potential, the genetic code, to produce its morphology and resultant actions processes). Second, even the biological system uses a biochemistry of catalysis (e.g., enzyme chemistry) in a rather rich evolutionary form, so that it too is in process of continued evolution.
Civilizationists, who draw their information and interpretations from history and sociology as major disciplines, are torn between concepts at two polar extremes ‑ one, that the history of mankind is largely made up of the accidents of local associations; and second, that civilizations unfold with a standard typology.
Since we do not dispute their expertise in assembling the facts of history (although that too is an evolutionary historical process), our problem is to interpret their findings in physical reductionist terms. For that position, it would seem that there are two unassailable conclusions.
The first is that the detailed character of the existing social process is related to the existing state of technology, which we have suggested is determined by the technological rate potential. It seems clear, throughout history into the prehistory of man, that if the social ensemble were not exceptionally isolated (i.e., open to immigration and emigration), then such technological change proceeded at a particular pace, one that fit the human brain's capability.
The second, as a form of the ergodic hypothesis, is that the kinds of actions that arise in human society seem independent of the age. That is the range of actions, or the dimensions of the action state, bind together to create the sheaf known as human culture. Loosely speaking, that sheaf has been identified by anthropologists. We have tried to underpin the notions by a reductionism to characteristics of the human brain (11, 6).
Thus, we submit, the general social game that man plays is independent of time and place, but its detailed forms and characteristics change, yet are most often bound, not by strict transformations, but as Markov chains.
First we illustrated this for pre-Neolithic man. Any number of leaders can take a group of people into an unoccupied territory and demonstrate a distribution function of successes (and failures). The history and prehistory of man, even in the events of only a few hundred years ago by which this American continent was settled, have demonstrated the full ergodic character of that theme.
So the issue turns to the difference in operation between that small interacting system state and the current (6000‑8000 years old) urban interacting state.
The major elements we find are local concentrations of population ‑ urban centers, a more uniform distribution of population ‑ more or less fixed rural population, and centralized authority over some range of centers located someplace. The major effect of value‑in‑trade has been to define ownership or control of all of the conservations, even people, although these change with time and place.
Now any intelligent human being, of any age, can be transplanted into any other time or place and in short time (e.g., hours, days, or months) be given or can acquire an operational set of rules for that new and strange society ('Proof': We see this happening with immigrants all the time.) Commonly the impediment of a strange language and its meaning is a first key hurdle that has to be overcome. These statements do not mean that every individual will want to acquire a 'mastering' or 'command‑control' view of the society, only that a number can. It can be done.
That set of rules of action, what can and cannot be done, that are means of manipulating the conservations and potentials we have named 'prove' that the social system is a physical system. But its thermodynamic nature is represented by the fact that the results are not hard-geared mechanistic. Instead, a distribution function range of results are obtained.
But its Markov chain character also makes itself evident. It was already obvious by Aristotle's day, that city‑states went through characteristic political transformations among democracy, oligarchy, and dictatorship. It was also clear to the Chinese philosopher‑advisor Mencius that large scale state civilizational epochs were of the order of 500 years.
This immediately puts a few more constraints on the form of command-control leadership possible for urban civilizations. One, that it has a past memory function, out of its epigenetic potential, by which its enculturation is transmitted. There is a time scale at which political change can be transmitted through the cultural process. Two, the social memory function has to deal with processes at many time scales from the day up to 500 years. The day, the year, the generation, the 500 year civilizational epoch are essentially fixed scales.
If leaders were completely successful in their endeavor, they would make their marks at the generation level. A few do. But it is the physics of interaction, day by day, year by year, with the horizon of the life span (a few generations) that marks the political process, the struggle for command‑control. Thus, the key ingredients in the social pot are culture, politics, economics within the human dimensions, and, climatology, geography and ecology as the physical dimensions. The conduct of urban civilizations through all of its history exhibits political conflict. One finds it most aptly described by a biologist, Darlington (12), as a conflict in which rulers alternate by inbreeding and outbreeding. That conflict brings the political time scale down into a dynamic scale much less that the generation ‑ as far as the apparent visible leadership is concerned ‑tending to crowd more commonly into the 2‑6 year slot. Obviously societies have also established legal terms of office. In those cases there is that legal 'narrowing' of the time frame.
But a complex urban civilization cannot be run by an individual. As in all command‑control for complex systems (e.g., the brain), the command control is distributed. As Mosca points out (13), there are two classes, one that rules and one that is ruled. The ruling class is a small fraction of the populace (just as the organism's command‑control nervous system makes up a small population of the organism's cells). It is supported by the populace. Its existence has nothing to do with the particular ideological form of the political government. That ruling class expresses its dominance at the generation time scale. It tends to lend coherence, e.g., a coherence time, at the level of about three generations, more nearly commensurate with the lifetime of the organism.
It is not our intention nor our duty to write a handbook of how to run an urban civilization. In principle, this is taught (in schools, or by apprenticeship) as political science. What is not taught, we submit, is that such regulation and command‑control ought to be conducted with the independent poles of the conservations and the available potentials in mind. Our basic thesis is that independent of the motivations of the ruling individual or the class, the culture, and the elected ideology, the coherence of the system ‑ if it is a large urban civilization ‑ comes apart in perhaps 500 years. This is a measure of the kind of bondings that are produced by the minds of human beings when associated in complex urban societies. This theme is not new, although it is to be regarded as a physical reductionist speculation for social science. It is a theme that civilizationists, on the other hand, are perfectly willing to accept from experimental evidence.
We doubt that very many politicians or bureaucrats with a political horizon of months would accept the theme as having any relevance, although many 'statesmen', particularly those with a reasonable idea of their cultural heritage, would. Operationally, such a view confronts the politician‑bureaucrat-elite with the same management problem as the medical doctor is faced with who knows that the life expectancy is perhaps 70 years, the lifespan 90 years, and who has to make a great variety of 'life‑debilitation‑death' decisions.
Such recognition means that the competent ruler has to distinguish two goals:
Ø to keep the system operating for his generation, and
Ø to serve his own wants and needs
The urban civilization, as a system, begins at such a two class level. The problem exists not only at the local urban settlement level but also at the politically associated ensemble of such settlements, and beyond at the interactive level of such polities who interact in an ecumene basically by trade and by war.
Two basic remarks are clear. We are in agreement with Jane Jacobs that the interaction of such an ensemble of settlements implies the prior existence of an ensemble of such urban settlements. In other words, we have not presented in that description a theory of startup, a theory of self‑organization of population settlements into an urban civilization. Such a model we presented is for the dynamic steady state of an urban civilization.
The second remark is that the essential unit time scale of interaction, particularly by war, in the ecumene is at the generation level. This stresses again, in the medical doctor's image of advice giving and maintenance, that we must be concerned with processes ranging from the daily regulation to the regulation over the 3‑4 generation human lifetime. With what concern? To see that the system is returned each such operating period back toward a near equilibrium.
That is the image ideal according to a thermodynamic systems paradigm. The problem which societies face is to what extent do the people and their elite rulers pay attention to that rule. For it is the ultimate necessary degradative defects in the application of that rule that leads to the longer term dislocations in the civilization. And implicitly then is a difference in how a society has to be run in its youthful, mature, and older dislocated age. For it is the recognition of that fact that leads essentially to the problem formulation of this project "construct a theory of regional and urban organization capable of describing dynamically the fundamental aspects of regional and urban growth, decay, vitality" (and the role played by transportation).
Now obviously the system (at near equilibrium) limps along ~ young, mature, or old. That limping along suggests to some (criticisms that we have received) that cities don't die, or don't die often. (A Philadelphia Inquirer article "A heart of steel fails, and a town faces slow death", p.C‑l, July 14,1980, about a steel town, Braddock, Pa., implies a different kind of view.)
But as we have stressed in our reports, pursuing the key idea of Sorokin's, it is not a question of 'death' as much as it is a reformation of the social molecularities which are bound together. A neighborhood going from productive kinds of business to sleazy extractive businesses, from residential to slum, etc. is hardly viable, hardly full of vitality. So the basic question, in a thermodynamic sense, is where does the dissipative entropic loss take place which leads to urban degradation? The basic answer is contained in the following argument:
There are three general classes of operational modes at every systems level. These are:
Ø aggress modes,
Ø defend modes, and
Ø maintain modes.
The problem is that active command‑control is designed and designs itself largely for the aggress and defend modes. The lower profile maintain modes really, in the end, take almost all the time and energy. Thus, at whatever is the near 'conscious' decision making level, the maintain modes get short shrift. Cycle by cycle (e.g., day by day, year by year, generation by generation) there are these entropic losses. It is their accumulation which after a characteristic number of generations basically pull down the system.
So, loosely speaking, the ruler's problem (or the ruling class problem) is to direct the expenditures of the social potentials so as to keep the system running but also to maintain its state (and provide a rate of adaptive modification for the changing future). A systems theoretic can help guide him. A model theoretic can keep track of how and where he fails at that maintenance task, and even predict where and why he will fail at that task.
The first task is one we began to study ‑ at a national level, with urban center resolution ‑ with the systems group in the DOT Transportation Systems Center. It begins by relating the potentials and fluxes ‑ of materials, energy costs, action modes, population, dollars ‑ among various regions of the nation, and how these relate to transportation. It deals with the character of dynamic change (dynamic in a physical sense) among these variables. For it is in such processes that the near equilibrium dynamic steady state of a modern urban civilization is to be found.
The Theory is a Generalized Relaxation Theory
The theory as outlined seems remarkably free of detail, particularly mathematical detail. In our various earlier reports we have tackled specific problems whenever asked. The important aspect of the theory is that it is a generalized relaxation theory, a theory of process change among salient variables for salient time scales to arrive at closure, e.g., how does the system state change from boundary conditions A to boundary conditions B? Such processes have to be done as specific detailed boundary conditions. Barring given such requirements in detail, we have only been able to offer general modeling, e.g., how nations of civilizations may evolve from time to time; the possible effect of a general policy.
It has been our recommendation that this work be pursued in the form of a general urban model of the U.S.A. What will be produced is a much broader model of the political ‑ economic ‑ cultural structure of the U.S.A. then say such models as the econometric models of the Brookings Institute or the Wharton School, which can then be addressed ‑ as are these econometric models ‑ with all sorts of national planning policy questions or forecasts. It is our contention that the selection of variables used here, exhaustive as they purport to be of the autonomous variables of the system, can provide a more reliable basis for forecasting than can the econometric models. Most scientists, outside of economists, have come to the conclusion that econometric models have almost no forecasting ability at all.
Why a Homeokinetics Approach Would Work
What is the justification for this general systems approach to urban organization? The basic answer is that from the startup of urban civilizations, marked by written record keeping, there is ample evidence that one major purpose of writing was to help keep a useful causal record of the world as it appeared regularly to man. Thus, whether as priests, or advisors to the ruler, an empirically derived image of natural phenomena was recorded. Whether the efforts were objectively validatable (e.g., astronomical, agricultural) or only imaginary (e.g., astrological, divinational, mind distorting, mystical), an evaluation of methodology from simple observational to mystical to rationally causal to scientific (parsimonious principles) has taken place. This effort, a social science based on physical principles, is the latest of such methodological efforts at modeling the nature of reality. It is an effort that has two historical precedents, one in the Greek era 600‑300 B.C. in which rational philosophic speculation was 'invented' (earlier science, purely empirical, existed among the Egyptians, Babylonians), and the second in the European Age of Enlightenment 17th to 19th centuries in which rational science (the Newtonian world machine) was invented. (What followed, in the 19th and 20th centuries was a splintering among the sciences. This late 20th Century effort is a reductionist effort to unify the sciences.)
Obviously this kind of development is attached basically and in principle to physics. However, physicists too have to be convinced that such extensions beyond normal physics are in order and valid. That problem turns on the following: Can it be that physics applies to all systems except the living system and the social system? Arguments pro and con are being vigorously pursued in a number of interdisciplinary circles.
The same issue exists with regard to other physical sciences. If we ask the question in the form "Does a kinetic theory and a theory of irreversible thermodynamics hold for such sciences as chemistry, geophysics, meteorology?" The general answer would be a "Yes". So again the issue turns on the connection of this new construct and the biological and social sciences, e.g., in life, mind, society.
Biology is obviously in process of capitulating, in its foundations, to the physical sciences. Molecular biology, as biology's newest foundation, is essentially all a study of the physics ‑ kinetics and thermodynamics ‑ and chemistry of a particular class of molecules. Cellular biology ‑ function, structure, self‑assembly ‑ is being increasingly accounted for in physical/chemical terms. Thus it is only organization at the level of the higher organism which is still in doubt. We have written how this construct is connected with the higher biological organism elsewhere (11, 14, 15, 16). Also see some representative work of our colleagues (17, 18, 19).
Expressed as a generalization, our homeokinetic construct states that the basic regulation of the internal environment of the living organism is achieved dynamically by an ensemble of thermodynamic engine processes. Such regulation takes place among the fundamental conservations of the organism. It maintains form and function of the interior of the organism independent of external vicissitudes.
In guiding the experimental work that our colleagues and we have conducted, that construct leads to a search and account for the engine cycles, their mechanisms, and their interconnection. It leads to a view of a dynamic biology, at every level up through the organization and function of the brain. Yates has aptly compared it with the standard constructs of biology.
Thus, more pertinently, we turn to the connection of our homeokinetic construct and the social sciences. The connections have been spelled out in various of our earlier reports (20, 21, 2). We have named the fundamental conservations and operative potentials. We have indicated how the various social sciences deal with aspects of these conservations and potentials, e.g., economics with the value‑in‑trade balance, anthropology with the dynamics of the epigenetic value potential, engineering with the technological rate potential. Thus, these social sciences may be viewed as scientific sub-disciplines of a homeokinetic physics of complex systems.
Such a status should not be too surprising. Consider meteorology, or astronomy. No well trained scientist in these fields would consider it impertinent if it were suggested that he or she undertake a general education in physics and then use that 'reductionist' base to tackle the specialization of meteorology as atmospheric‑physics, or astronomy as astro‑physics. Nor would such a scientist find specialized 'emergent' properties to be unusual for the specific discipline. So it is hard to fathom what would be the analogous problem in a social‑physics that lacked a physical foundation. We presume it to be the 'surprise' contained in the 'emergent' properties of human brain. We have discussed the issue in many places (e.g., in (11, 15)).
Homeokinetics Compared to Other Constructs
But having examined the issue of human behavior at both the individual level (e.g., the psychology, psychiatry, ethnology of animal, particularly human, behavior) and the social level throughout history, we still see only a denumerably finite number of behavioral modes, and we find it far from difficult to trace such behavior back to brain mechanisms, even if not yet in detail. So we find little of emergent novelty.
If one accepts that premise, then the remaining question is how this homeokinetic physics construct (as applied to society) compares, connects, or contrasts with other constructs. Eleven likely candidates, as constructs or methodologies, are:
Ø Cybernetics. As our reports will indicate, we developed the construct of homeokinetic physics with one of the three fathers of cybernetics, Warren McCulloch. The basic question which McCulloch posed was what was the science, particularly physical science or engineering, for command‑control. Weiner "cybernetics" came up with the notion of feedback control, possibly with some regulation involved in the process. Von Neumann used the question to illustrate the requirements for modern digital computers. In our work with McCulloch, we stressed that the basic function was achieved by the dynamic regulation furnished modally by the coupling among thermodynamic engine processes. This was followed up by McCulloch and his colleagues (e.g., Kilmer) in a construct attempting a realization of the reticular activating core in the brain (22)).
Ø Set theoretic modeling. The broadest scatter shot criticism of everyone's attempt at modeling is contained in Berlinski's book (23). Eden (24), in a review of the book, attempts to offer some more moderate and objective remarks on its intemperance. But a basic message which Berlinski attempts to spell out is that only Suppes' set theoretic of a model has any chance at success. (For some of Suppes' work, see (25), particularly the chapter on "Models of Data".) A more rational review of Suppes' point of view was given by Yates (18, 19).
A radical or extreme mathematical reductionist view of Suppes' work (see Bunge (26) for definitions of reductionism and radical reductionism) would be offensive to physicists. The notion of a world limited only by mathematical self consistency would have that character (See Benacerraf and Putnam for the very reasonable and diverse views of pure mathematicians on the foundations of mathematics (27)). On the other hand, if Suppes' set theoretic is interpreted, in his words, 'Many of the discussions in the philosophy of science may best be formulated as a series of problems using the notion of a representation theorem. For example, the thesis that biology may be reduced to physics would be in many people's minds appropriately established if one could show that for any model of a biological theory it was possible to construct an isomorphic model within physical theory", such a view would be reasonable. It represents the thrust behind our biological work in attempting to model the thermoregulation system, muscle functional units, brain function, cardiovascular function, development, behavior, metabolism by physical models of these physiological processes.
But the issue returns again very quickly to the social sciences. What, in pure mathematician's views, would a set theoretic for the social sciences be? We don't know. We know what a number of mathematically inclined physicists have offered. A good typical example is the geographer's Alan Wilson's work, on entropy maximization, e.g., (28). (Many others can be found in the automatic control literature, e.g., at various IFAC conferences.)
An even more recent example, of an urban planner (Isard) who has found a mathematical physical companion, is (29). We see the mathematics. We do not see, in Suppes' terms, any reductionism to isomorphic modeling within physical theory.
Another example, Prigogine made the direct statement, at the October 1979 program planning session in Cambridge, that no self‑respecting physicist could entertain the notion of there being any Rubicon that would permit crossing over from physics to social science. Instead, he pointed out, that the only possible modeling lay in finding certain mathematical isomorphisms.
Thus, quite clearly, these authors are guided by mathematical reductionisms, not a physical reductionism. This chasm would apparently require some reconciliation in which either the physically oriented or the mathematically oriented budged and their models fit commonly acceptable constraints. That argument is also going on ‑ in biological and in social science circles.
Ø Topology. Of the two perhaps most abstract branches of mathematics ‑ logic and topology ‑ it is interesting to note the interest, in the past decade or so, expressed in applying topology to the more perplexing large systems problems in science. One leader in this effort was Rene Thom. We were fortunate in having been invited by Waddington to contribute to his sessions on foundations for a theoretical biology wherein Thom's interests first surfaced in his dialogues with Waddington (30). Thus we have been able to follow the issues from the beginning. Scientific discussion about catastrophe theory has been provocative, evocative, and in the end quite vitriolic. All through the 1970's, debate went on. In the late 70's, we were consulted, as part of an international chain of people, by a free lance science writer who was trying to put together a piece for a large circulation periodical on the status and meaning of the catastrophe theory dispute. Our comments than (and now) were that catastrophe theory was not necessarily a complete topology for physical processes; that in the end its merit would only be tested not by 'novelty' in imperfectly formulated fields (e.g., biology, social science) but by its merit as compared to other views in some well defined physical field. We suggested that such a field was hydrodynamics, and that Thom's views had already been begun to be explored there (e.g., the work of Ruelle and Takens). In 1980, the question of a definite answer has still not been resolved. There are those who think the lead still provocative; there are those who consider the lead intellectually shabby.
References that provide some historical sense of the strengths or weakness of the outlook are to be found in three N.Y. Academy of Science meetings ‑ Gurel's ((31). In particular Dr. Dresden's discussion should be attended to), Gurel and Rossler (32), and Helleman (33). What is happening, as (33) reveals, is that the topology of bifurcational transformations in hydrodynamics is gradually being discovered. A comment that we made is that the electrohydrodynamics of brain, the magnetohydrodynamics of fusion, and the irreversible thermodynamics of society have all suggested a much richer number of transitional transformations.
A Gordon Research conference in 1976 was devoted to stability. Sponsored by a solid state physics group, the meeting brought together a Noah's Ark of participants (e.g., two biologists, two biophysicists, etc., but also an appropriate sprinkling of pairs of mathematicians). Notable was the contribution of the topologists. A basic theme was the demonstration of the chaotic attractors, in addition to those now known (e.g., linear oscillators, limit cycle oscillators). Hydrodynamicists have been able to follow a sequence of transitions to chaotic noise. (Although to the question of what, if anything, might follow as an attractor beyond noise, the topologists could furnish no answers.)
The mathematician Abraham (see, for example (34)) has suggested a richer set of bifurcations than Thom.
These frontiers illustrate mathematicians who are inspired and confront physical problems, and those who turn away from them. There are those mathematicians (e.g., Abraham) who look with reasonable favor on our hierarchical homeokinetic physics. However, one must say precisely that none of the frontier candidates can claim a universal theory that unifies mathematical and physical reasoning at the level of the complex systems we are considering, i.e., biological, social.
Ø Feedback control. Our initial technical background, past academic training, was in the regulation and automatic control field. Thus we are familiar with its originators and origins. Our first 'mature' commentary on regulation and control in complex systems (biological systems, with a final hint regarding social systems) may be found in (35). The theme that was expressed in that paper was that a thorough review of the biological literature about the complex organism, including our own experimental work, found little automatic control mechanism of a feedback nature. Instead the processes seemed, in the main, to be dynamic regulatory processes, involving thermodynamic engine cycles, that we later denoted as homeokinetic. Arguing such differences in outlook in automatic control circles, we have helped proponents of an automatic control point of view to sharpen their own views. A highly mature example of such a mixed control theoretic view by a most knowledgeable control engineer is (36). Another more recent view, by Siebert (37), indicates some of the reservations that knowledgeable communications engineers, working in biology, take toward a control point of view. On the other hand, a modern control engineer's defense may be found in (38).
One essential criticism that we express against the wide relevance of control theory to systems, whether self‑organizing or organized by a deus ex machina, is that they provide no theory for the plant. Control is endogenous to the system. And that is not our concept of self‑organizing systems, e.g., biological and social.
Now we may be criticized for using discussions of control engineers in the biological system rather than the social system. Our justification is the question of experience and of verifiability. It turns out that there are a number of engineers with one or more decades of experience with the biological organism. Knowledgeable experience with politics is available to very few engineers from this control community (e.g., except for a few Russian engineers, or say, the cyberneticist, Stafford Beer). Second, as the issues discussed in a recent New Scientist article (39) refer to, there are certain suspect qualities to using a historical record as part of science. Thus one has a sense that feedback theory is more sharply tested in biology.
Ø Vitalism. After the Darwinian era, it became exceedingly difficult for any student firmly rooted in a scientific metaphysics that included physical science to consider vitalism as a significant component of scientific modeling. The 20th Century quickly took up, in turn, the themes that radioactivity demonstrated the existence of nucleosynthetic processes to support long stellar life, that all 'organic' byproducts of the living system could be 'inorganically' synthesized, a long life for earth processes, a long evolutionary life from elementary chemical beginnings for living forms, a historical cosmic evolution via nucleosynthetic processes, a chemical foundation for the genetic determinants of living organisms, a limited number of basic forces. Any belief in specialized nonphysical forces for life dimmed.
Yet scientific disquietude regarding life and its 'emergent' properties have not completely disappeared. The most common theme under which objection is gathered is under the banner of holism. To some extent, Bunge (26) classified the logical position of such beliefs. Thus we will turn our attention to the topic of holism, because in agreement with the overwhelming majority of the community of scientists, we cannot take vitalism seriously as a scientific doctrine. Instead, our construct is based on attempting to place these complex subjects ‑ life, mind, society ‑ within a physical theoretic. We cannot take seriously the Popper ‑ Eccles separation (40) of three worlds (physical, mental, social), nor of the issues argued around Popper's beliefs in (39).
Ø Holism. Holism begins with J. Smuts' estimable little book (41), written in the 1920's soon after the beginnings of quantum mechanics. It asks a variety of questions regarding the ability of science to deal with systems exhibiting a great deal of complexity, rather dealing with systems which exhibited greater complexity than mechanistic systems, e.g., its seventh chapter is entitled 'Mechanism and holism". Its common descriptive catchphrase has become the theme "the whole is more than the sum of its parts", or put more innocently, function emergent from assembly is more extensive than the functions ascribable to the parts and the act of assembly. The main comparison which sticks out throughout the book is that simple systems have a mechanistic character (e.g., hard geared, hard guided constraints), whereas higher systems (life, society) have a freer‑character.
Put so innocently, it is hard to object. But reflection quickly raises the following questions. Both in Smuts (41), and in the discussion of Engels' ideas in (39), there seems to be a striking lack of attention to the physics of flow processes. It is fair to say in rebuttal, for example, that essentially all of Prigogine's (and ours) contributions have been based on highlighting the thermodynamics associated with flow processes.
And if one examines Smuts closer, one in fact discovers what is basically a hidden vitalism. (The essence of Smuts' argument is that the reductionist position should be contrasted with the antireductionist positions of vitalism and holism, and he states that he rejects vitalism. So the issues critically hang on whether he really takes a hidden vitalistic position.) We will attempt to indicate the hidden vitalistic position by a few quotations:
"In spite of...great advances...gap...remain; matter, life and mind still remain...disparate...Reformed concepts. ...are wanted. ...Take Evolution as a case in point. [its] acceptance..., the origin of life‑structures from the inorganic, must mean a complete revolution in our idea of matter". [Not so. Every chemistry text book in the first quarter of the century had accepted the notion as a matter of fact.]
Yet in a "close scrutiny of the nature of matter, as revealed by the New Physics, and especially colloid chemistry, brings it very close to the concept of life". [True. Modern molecular biology has closed the gap even more.]
"The cell is the second fundamental structure of the universe'' [only to living systems, as we know them on earth ].
"The structure of a cell is...most complex...comparatively little is yet definitely known about it. Its functions are even more mysterious... laboratory attempts to repeat organic processes throw...little light on the exact nature of these processes" [vitalistic].
"Organic regulation...among an indefinitely large number of parts which make all the parts function together for certain purposes is a great advance on...physical equilibrium in atoms...and is yet quite distinct from the control which...mind comes to exercise...mind...must...not be ascribed to the cell..."
In organisms "the parts appear to play a common part and to carry out some common purpose or to act for the common well‑being. They seem to respond to some central pressure...we are evidently in the presence of some inner factor in Evolution which requires identification and description". [This sets up a picture in which either the process is to be accounted for physically, 'mechanistically', or vitalistically. We have opted for a fluid mechanical complex physics internally, as per the measure of a bulk viscosity, as revealed in an action spectrum. Note that Prigogine rejected such a notion as not being acceptable to physicists. Thus the alternate view would seem to have to be vitalistic.]
Smuts offers holism as a general and specific or concrete construct to account for creative evolution. Behind evolution there is no mere vague creative impulse or elan vital. The synthesis of whole and parts grades from physical mixtures, to chemical compounds, to organisms, to minds, to personality. "The explanation of nature can...not be purely mechanical."
In a chapter on mechanism and holism, mechanism is identified as a structure in which ''the working parts maintain their identity and produce their effects individually, so that the activity...is...the mathematical result of the individual activities of the parts". [This seems to be a view built on hard molded, hard wired, hard guided, hard geared components, and in no way faces the loose coupling and freedom of flow fields].
"Science looks upon the physical realm as a closed system dependent only on physical laws, which leave no opening anywhere for the active intervention of nonmaterial entities like life and mind". [This is a nonscientist's view, with which we are quarreling. We have shown the openings. Second, if life and mind are 'entities', they are embodied in the actions of the organism, and the brain, both very material.].
"While science denies reality to life and mind [No], the other side [vitalism] retort by erecting them into vital and mental forces... Both views...are one‑sided and misleading".
"In reply to mechanistic Science...the holistic factors of life and mind do not interfere with the closed physical system, and that a proper understanding of the laws of thermodynamics permits of the immanent activity of a factor of selectiveness and self‑direction, such as life or mind, without any derogation from those laws". [We agree with the latter part of the sentence. That is our credo. Thermodynamics can deal with the systems characteristics of life, mind, society. But the purpose of the first proposition in our Science article (42) was to demonstrate that mechanics of any continuum‑like field had to imply thermodynamics. Thus mechanics and thermodynamics cannot be separated. One gets the view, again and again, that Smuts (and perhaps all other holists) regard 'mechanism' via a hard molded, hard wired, hard guided, hard geared picture, and really don't consider fluid mechanical fields in their perceptions].
"We...envisage the physico‑chemical structures of nature as the beginnings of earlier phases of Holism, and 'life' as a more developed phase of the same inner activity. Life is not a new agent, with the mission of interfering with the structures of matter…Holism has only advanced one step farther; there is a deeper structure, more selectiveness, more direction, more control.'' [That kind of writing leaves no concrete construct for the holistic doctrine. It still leaves only some kind of slippery vitalism.
The only alternative we see, if Smuts is to believe his thermodynamic assertion, is that holists have not found the way to describe the physics of internally activated motions and change. We have pointed the path. It is contained in the transport coefficient associated with internal action rather than external translational action. We found it very surprising when Prigogine accepted thermodynamics as being valid for life processes, but not for societal processes. We see no basic difference in the need for internalized descriptions. Thus nature, life, human, mind, society pose the same problems to us. Holists differ].
Ø Nonphysical reductionism. It is not possible to conduct any significant discussion of other reductionist positions except to name them and perhaps add a sentence. Thus vitalism actually is a nonphysical reductionism where the 'vital force' may take one of a variety of forms. Holism attempts to avoid a stand. Mathematical reductionism, which we discussed, is another example. Solipcism, as it were, puts the focal force at infinity (or in the perceiver's mind). Nothing exists except in the perceiver's mind.
More limited forms of reductionism attempt an account of only one step in the universe's hierarchy, e.g., sociobiology. In sociobiology, the effort is proposed to account for social bonding or social formation by genetic processes. This, of course, has stirred up a great deal of controversy.
Another example of such a limited reduction is the Prigogine school's (e.g., DOT) efforts at a sociological mathematics.
Ø Solipcism. While one would have thought this outlook to be completely outmoded, it became evident that when reasons arise for social depression, this outlook can come back to favor. This remark is made to note in passing the death of Satre and perhaps of the influence of his existential movement.
Ø Dissipative structures. We have no difficulty with accepting the key idea of dissipative 'structures' (except for the use of the term 'structures'. We would prefer functions). The term has been associated with the Prigogone school, although it is not the source of our belief. Coming through the line of hydrodynamic ‑ irreversible thermodynamic research, our attribution is much more to the Poincare notion of characteristic exponents, diffusive and vorticity issues in stability of Reynolds and Rayleigh, other issues of fluid mechanical as well as elastic stability theory.
To illustrate another line of researchers, one might examine Scriven's remarks, as it is taken from the perspective of chemical engineering, ("A Physicochemical Basis for Pattern and Rhythm", in Vol. II, (30)), or see the questions raised in (43).
As we have discussed in our earlier report, commenting on the outlooks of various schools, Prigogine credits his chemical thermodynamic- mathematical attack to key ideas derived from Turing. So does Scriven. The issue that Prigogine, Scriven, and we settle on is the emergence of cyclic processes associated with non-linearity and dissipative structures.
But the one criticism that remains, one which we have raised both with regard to Scriven and Prigogine, one which was also expressed by Anderson, is that dissipative structures associated with flow fields do not account for symmetry breaking in matter condensation fields. And since we believe that true self‑organization is a matter condensation not a flow instability, a theme also expressed by Landauer, we still require a theory of how the internal behavior ‑ which provokes so much 'holistic' commentary ‑ is developed as a dissipative process, Our article in Collective Phenomena (44) has illustrated how the process comes about.
Ø Pure economics. Pure economics deals with balances in only one compartment, the value‑in‑trade compartment. It is the general assertion of pure economics, from Walras on, that given an optimality function (as a consequence of a rank ordered selection of individual preferences) there exists an equilibrium solution for the economy at every instance. In the most detailed modern form, this has been cast into the components of such large scale econometric models as those of the Brookings Institute or the Wharton School. It includes Leontiev input‑output tables to represent 'the factory'. [As such it faces the same dilemma that control theory does, in the sense that it cannot represent the self‑organization of the ongoing industrial process. That becomes exogenous to the model.]. It deals with the flow of funds through the economic system.
Most scientists outside the field of economics would consider the modeling to be an elaborate curve fitting by functions which are not probably isomorphic to the processes they attempt to represent.
As an extreme view, Heilbronner views all scientific modeling including those from his econometric field as tautologies. The difficulty is that both of these views defended by economics leave other scientists with a sense that economics is empty of dynamic causal content.
Our view is that we are willing to graft econometric theory, as one compartment, to our construct. However, we have never been permitted the opportunity to do so.
Ø Network theory. Network theory, to us, has been the effort to represent generalized systems by analogies, basically black box analogies, using the response of network components usual in electrical engineering, e.g., charge, current, resistance, capacitance, inductance. A very elaborate form of this is pursued by bond graph theorists.
One major objection has been that hydrodynamic analogies are poorly fitted into the scheme, and are likely more general. But basically, we have finally turned to irreversible thermodynamics as the broadest 'true' rather than analogue description. The problem becomes particularly sticky exactly at the point that holistic questions arise. How are internally complex systems to be described? Our answer, time and again, has come out to be a matrix of action modes. This is all the system's command‑control can throw out.
Utility of the Homeokinetics Approach
In our opinion, the utility of the homeokinetic systems approach is that it can attempt to answer any kind of social systems' question on the level of ensemble characteristics. Its very structure makes it a companion theory to kinetic theory which would attempt to deal with individual units.
But that utility is not of the most direct value to a mission oriented agency. Thus, as applied scientists, our basic answer for the utility of the approach is to define the characteristics of the social system of the U.S.A. for national policy purposes. In (21), we spelled out a first crude model of how the construct could be used in a feedback manner independent of ideology (e.g., for command‑control of any kind of political persuasion, including for a pure 'open‑loop' informational guidance system with no feedback control).
But in particular, we indicated that the limits of this near equilibrium thermodynamic approach lay in the near equilibrium time scale of one generation. It was not of real benefit for the far from equilibrium kinetic scale of politics, e.g., 2‑6 years. Our belief would be that our construct could be tied up with any fluctuational kinetic model of more rapid atomistic processes to show how the near equilibrium field would evolve.
With a working database of the U.S.A. built up around the conservation compartment and potentials, homeokinetics can model movement and change in the U.S.A. at the various time scales of interest from enculturation to the high frequency fluctuations. We believe that such a national model can be tied in, in time, to urban models and to econometric models. The merit of what we could add would be its large scale general utility.
 From where do the laws of governing society come? According to physics, from the kinetics of atomistic components (they themselves represent field processes at another hierarchical level). We wish to inquire how processes, both linear and nonlinear can give rise to the parameters that mark the field system. By that statement we would mean first the effort, by kinetic study, to determine ‑ either theoretically or experimentally ‑ how biological parameters determine operational parameters of society. To illustrate, essentially all of the essential properties of the market basket are physiologically determined, as are the space‑time budget of human activities. Every elite manager of a living social ensemble (bee keeper, sanitation engineer, pastoralist, farmer, etc.) has to learn such 'facts of life' as they affect the species he is managing. But, in addition, the mean state of the ensemble system arises from a variety of fluctuation‑dissipation processes, nominally a major one corresponding to each atomistic conservation. These processes also have a space and time scale, and may be parameterized by steady state measures. The question we are attempting to raise at this point is what happens if a new associational process is introduced (e.g. the iron plow, three crop rotation, the steam engine) ‑ creating a new singular state of motion ‑ how will a possible transient transformation to a new operating state take place?
 The common kind of nonlinear process in a field system is convection. It is a key theoretical question to determine the kinetic level at which nonlinearity arises in social phenomena.
 Each time a new elite takes over command‑control of a policy, there is a small shock. Those small shocks are, in part, responsible for the field dissipation. However this dissipation is part of the normal diffusivities of the social field. The unusual ones are those in which social jumps take place, e.g. the start up of civilization, of empires, of universal religions, of nation states. Such thixotropy doesn't rule out physics, but makes the description subject to renormalizations of the principles. This is characteristic of all stability transitions. When they appear in natural systems, as transitional phenomena, the field description has to be adjusted for the jumps.
 There is a great deal of difference in how a hunter‑gatherer band deals with surplus and a settled agricultural society, particularly a civilization. The basic point is not the amount of surplus and waste, but how that surplus is organized. In civilization, in the main, elite rulers begin to store grain for the entire populace over a period of years, taxing the populace in good times and redistributing the grain in bad times. That cooperativity can begin to support the symbolic mode of value‑intrade. Further elaboration of civilization and the many ways that it deals with and organizes surplus can then take place from such beginnings as the political form of governments evolve.
 The basic notion being projected is that significant ideas are projected at the generation time scale. If the society is laid out with spatial isolation, then the diffusion has that slow rate. However if there is a convective mixing ‑ as in modern societies ‑ the apparent spatial speed may seem a great deal faster. Nevertheless the diffusivity still remains a slow generation process. We witness this now, not in how fast a new style propagates, but in the slowness of ethnic mixing, or how slow population waves convect but then rediffusive over a large national domain.
 This paragraph and the next few attempt to suggest the connection between the psychophysiological characteristics of biological Man and modern society. This characterization of the epigenetic potential is an attempt to cross the Rubicon from biology to sociology. Note that the nine dimensions of the epigenetic potential listed are not confined to modern societies, with value‑in‑trade, but apply to Man throughout his entire history. The dimensions may be incomplete or imperfect, but they are certainly relevant. In the first paragraph, we simply outline what a coordinative command‑control in the brain must do. The second paragraph suggests the mechanism. The fifth paragraph defines the dimensional aspects that become societal concerns of the individual.
 Technology (application of knowledge for practical purposes; technical methods of achieving practical purposes; technical ‑ having specialized skills or knowledge) refers to the use of and knowledge of use of tools. Culture, narrowly, refers to the tool assemblages used by an isolated group of hominids capable of independent persistence. More broadly, it has come to mean all the 'tools' used by such a group ‑ tools, language, and systems of thought. It is implied that they are technical. One step further, it may also denote the customs, beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a group.
 The epigenetic potential exists within each individual, and is shared ~ via the act of communication ‑ with other members of the social ensemble. What changes is both the individual action modes and the cooperative action modes. That mix forms the organized social complex.
 Note: There will be many who will take offense at the notion of a social chemistry as anything but a poor metaphor. We view chemistry as the making, breaking, and exchanging of bonds. Traditional chemistry has already extended its own domain to include nuclear chemistry, and even elementary particle chemistry. Thus one more extension is not unusual. The more important issue as to whether people bond seems obvious. The problem is how it is to be described. We have described it as an exchange force, compatible with modern notions of guage invariant forces. (11)
 The epigenetic potential holds a view of a social culture. But with humans, there is a continuing change in perception of technical methods. That change, loosely speaking, occurs from generation to generation. We assume that there is a force within the hominid brain structure for the past few million years that drives that change. Thus, we view it as a rate potential. As that rate produces technical change, it accumulates and ultimately influences change in the social modes of production.
 Starting from (20), we attempted to illustrate the ergodic character of man's behavior by the thought experiment of taking a group into any
territory on the earth starting with a given technology and epigenetic
potential. This seemed perfectly evident to Army personnel with a
with a history of having to perform such missions. The statistically determined nature of the outcome and its dependence on epigenetic heritage seemed perfectly clear.
 That the result is comparably determined for a modern society seems also perfectly clear. However, this is no longer a task 'only' for Army personnel. This point has been driven home as various military juntas have taken over modern governments. As the Russians and Chinese (and Americans) have indicated, it pays to include political, and economic advisors and other technical specialists.
 We suggest that the metaorganization of complex modern societies, the problem that confronts leaders since the beginning of civilizations, involves issues that have to be classified as cultural (anthropological), technological, sociological, economic, political, epigenetic (including religious as well as moral belief systems). This in no way negates the fundamental conservations suggested by physics. It suggests that the conservations have to be organized within these more complex metacompartments which are not subject to conservational constraints. Does the ruler rule for the day, the political term, the generation, or the life of the civilization (e.g. does the Supreme Court act to conserve the constitution or overcome the existing crisis)?
 Does a complex urban civilization self‑structure? In a May 1980 paper to civilizationists, we proposed a theory based on Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Indus Valley data for the startup‑of urban civilizations. We indicated therein that their self‑structuring begins from their prior precipitation in place basically as agriculturists. That represents their self‑structuring. After that, society exhibits gel‑like 'fluid' transformations, largely representing changes in the internalized epigenetic potential. The changes are thus mainly functional, not structural. Past initial startups of these and a few other urban civilizations, there has appeared almost no new structural changes in such societies.
 We will remind the reader that the standard usage, in an irreversible thermodynamic sense, is that as a result of natural processes the system looses entropy, while the rest of the universe gains entropy.
 Potentials (storage bins for conservations) one encountered in two kinds of forms. In one form, the storage bin is so large as to be regarded as infinite, once upon a time, solar energy, fossil fuel, air, water was so regarded. In another form, one encounters the finite capacitance or rate governed flux capacity at the potential. Rulers are commonly surprised by such transformations. But a wise ruler may sense it before he begins to regulate the draw.
 If Smuts believes his statement about a proper understanding of the laws of thermodynamics, then he must understand that the thermodynamics of movement and change, even social movement, must be contained in the transport parameter responses to driving forces or potentials. The Rubicon from physics of simple systems (systems that can be described in momentum space) and complex systems (systems that require description in internal action space) is the transport coefficients associated with internal action. Such a measure already exists in physical theory and requires elaboration, which we are trying to offer. We admit that without such a theoretic, the holists challenge would be absolutely valid. But then physics would not be a universal science and we would be back to square one for interpretation of the book of nature.
 The point was made by Anderson at the recent Solvay congress whose proceedings were edited by Nicolis. It was a point which we attempted toelucidate in (44). In rapid flow processes (e.g. convectively governedfields which hydrodynamicists are long familiar with), time unsymmetricinstabilities are associated with momentum diffusivities. Prigogine hasattempted to highlight chemically induced instabilities associated withsuch fields. But these instabilities do not account for the symmetrybreaking of matter condensation, e.g. first or second order transitionsin phase change. New functional field processes may arise (e.g. vortices,Taylor rolls, B'enard cells), but these are not structural changes. The difference in how that word is used distinguishes physics and mathematicaloutlooks.