Closing the Ecological Cycle: The Emergence of an Integrative Science of Noosystems, by Gary W. Barrett

A new century/millennium provides an opportune time to reflect on how the science of ecology evolved during the 19th and 20th centuries, and to predict how it is likely to change during the 21st century (at least to reflect on how it might evolve in order to best serve societies during the decades ahead). This viewpoint article will attempt to: (a) provide an overview regarding the emergence of ecology from a subdiscipline of biology to a discipline of its own during the past century (Odum 1977); (b) discuss the academic fragmentation of ecology into numerous subdisciplines of study; and (c) argue that a new field of transdisciplinary science is urgently needed that will not only integrate these emerging fields of the ecological sciences, but will interface with the humanities and the social sciences as well (i.e., similar to C. P. Snow’s “third culture,” Snow 1963). Earlier we termed this 21st century field of study “integrative science” (Barrett & Odum 1998; Barrett & Kress 2001).

Read the article here: Ecological Cycle Barret


Anticipation: Annotated Bibliography, by Mihai Nadin

Anticipation, ascertaining an alternative perspective, suggests a new frontier in science. The realisation of the integrated nature of knowledge about anticipation will eventually supersede the current fragmentation of research in this new inquiry domain. The subject’s inter- and cross-disciplinarity justifies the effort to document the breadth and depth of the anticipation research, even when the word anticipation is not spelled out. The identifier is clear: what happens before a possible outcome is even triggered? The aim is to assist those who are still not fully aware of the encompassing nature of anticipation, but interested in the subject, to formulate and test their own hypotheses. In some areas (such as computer-based applications), the expectation of reproducible results (characteristic of the nomothetic) is justified; in others, pertinent to the living (characteristic of the idiographic), anticipation proves rather difficult to define and probably impossible to emulate.

Read the article here: Anticipation General Systems Nadin

From Ecosystems to Noosystems, by Ambarish Mukherjee

Ecosystem, which lays the basis for defining ecology, has always been viewed as an integrated unit of plants, animals and microbes interacting reciprocally with the biotic, abiotic and climatic factors composing their environment so that there is flow of energy, recycling of nutrients and display of regulatory functions. This kind of interpretation, however, is not adequate enough to understand the total systems dynamics. Considering the importance of integration of social, economic and cultural perspectives of human life with the conventional concept of ecosystem there was the milestone setting inception of the concept of ‘noosystem’ that paved the pathway to the genesis of such disciplines as environmental science, conservation biology, restoration ecology and deep ecology. The present work reviews all such perspectives so as to consolidate our concern with noosystem in general and deep ecology in particular.

Read the paper here

Anticipation and Future-Oriented Capabilities in Natural and Artificial Cognition, by Giovanni Pezzulo

Empirical evidence indicates that anticipatory representations grounded in the sensorimotor neural apparatus are crucially involved in several low and high level cognitive functions, including attention, motor control, planning, and goal-oriented behavior. A unitary theoretical framework is emerging that emphasizes how simulative capabilities enable social abilities, too, including joint attention, imitation, perspective taking and communication. We argue that anticipation will be a key element for bootstrapping high level cognitive functions in cognitive robotics, too. We thus propose the challenge of understanding how anticipatory representations, that serve for coordinating with the future and not only with the present, develop in situated agents.

Article here: Anticipation and cognition Pezzulo


On Joy (which is not just about fun)

In many languages ​​around the world, the equivalent of the word joy has been slowly replaced in recent decades by three letters from the standard universal language: fun. As is often the case when a word is inserted in the global communication network, it becomes less rich and expresses a generic and formatted version of more complex feelings.

Words are not just conceptual bags, they are also corsets and social control tools. While more and more global individuals have mimetic “fun” moments, less and less have access to all the depth, richness and singularity of joy. Besides, to play on words a little, in Latin, funus means death, funeral. It seems sometimes that fun is reactive, sectarian, like the egocentric exclusion of many parts of the world, while joy affirms the world and anticipates it creatively and generously.

There are many forms of joy: childish, religious or mystical, loving, intellectual, friendly. This time to mention an exact etymology, the Latin word source, gaudia, was a plural noun — meaning rejoicings — formed from the verb gaudeo, I rejoice, itself formed on an Indo-European root related to the word admiration. Joy is a physical and spiritual experience: perhaps it is the human experience par excellence that expresses the fact that the spiritual and the physical are, from time to time, in symbiosis and unification, the body expressing the vibrations of the spirit and the spirit celebrating an admirable and glorious presence in the world. Joy of the mystic, joy of the lovers, joy of the children who play, joy of the thinker who swims in the ocean of concepts, joy is an enjoyment, but which always includes in it an angelic part: it is the presentiment that in a dimension unknown to worried realists, we develop ample white wings that make us capable of flying, we are both responsible for earthly harmony and intoxicated by the divine wine of life.

Joy is never entirely selfish or exclusive: it connects us to the world by introducing us to hidden and sublime dimensions. Joy renders us talkative, pushes us to forgive and to understand. As it is not only enjoyment or fun, it also makes us more responsible and ready to fight for the harmony it suggests. The archangel Saint-Michael does not only have wings, he also comes with a sword. He is active in the fun-eral of evil. “It is in joy that courages are reshaped,” wrote the author Victor Cherbuliez in the nineteenth century.

While fun can make us blind to all those — and even cruel to those — who are not in our little circle of enjoyment, joy asks us: how is it that our earth is not a kingdom of common harmony? Even childlike joy is generous and inclusive. In this sense, joy brings with it gems of politics. Who knows, perhaps we should build a new global political proposal based on joy? Communism was too obsessed with work, which no doubt involves its magic and joys, but indirectly. Capitalism is too obsessed, as its name indicates, by capitalization, accumulation, while joy, conversely, is an abundance that disperses rather than seeks to retain at all costs.

Joy is a direct connection to the richness of the Creal and the cosmic love story between the Multiple and the One. Theoretical anarchism is no doubt close to a politics of joy. And the distrust it inspires reveals our more general fear of joy: it is the terror we experience in the face of dissolution and dispersion, it is our escapism from disorder and our refuge in order. We cling to our identity — and in that process we are not fully wrong. Because realized joy is not only dispersion, it is also access, beyond the pettiness of the Ego, to the greatness of the Self.

The creative universe is a love dance between the pure Multiple and the pure One — for every multiplicity supposes ontologically Unity, as pointed long ago by philosopher Plotinus. Deep joy is simultaneously the apprehension of our infinite richness and the intuition of the singular person we are, the identity which makes us angelic, in the image of the divine. Someone who is in joy is both out of herself and in herself.

In the end, joy is always mystical, a movement of admiration for the All and for its echo in each of us. “There are joys that are an inexhaustible source of strength for the soul,” would add novelist Laure Conan. Joy reveals to us the soul of the world, and our participation in the destiny of it.

Anticipatory intelligence and AI

An article by James Kobielus, overly optimistic. Please add your own critical thinking.

“AI is essentially a predictive technology. No matter what its algorithmic underpinnings, its core function is to make sophisticated inferences about what’s likely to happen based on myriad variables that have been distilled both from historical and real-time data. When it’s embedded in every device and refined continuously with fresh data, AI becomes a ubiquitous resource helping us all to anticipate what’s coming and do what’s necessary to keep our lives running smoothly.”


Read the full article here.





The Future is Not an Object: Crealectics as an Exploration of Anticipation and Anticipatory Systems

We tend to see the future as caused by the past. But biology for example shows us that causes can be in the future. The growth of a child is in part the fulfilment of models. This is true organically and culturally.

In my forthcoming book, Being and Neonness, a revised version of L’être et le néon (2012), I initiated a reflection on creative anticipation via an analysis of the philosophical character of Merlin the diviner. I have slowly come to see crealectics as an exploration of anticipatory systems from the point of view of the realization of the Creal. This year, I will try to produce the lineaments of an intellectual history of anticipation during my research postdoc at Örebro University. Anticipation is a richer concept than prediction, because it indicates more transparently that there is an element of creativity in the prediction of the future, as opposed to only statistical or probabilist prediction. The future is not an object.

Let’s consider this definition:

“An anticipatory system is a system containing a predictive model of itself and/or its environment, which allows it to change state at an instant in accord with the model’s predictions pertaining to a later instant” (Rosen, Anticipatory Systems, 1985, p. 341). 

The models are not only predictive, but composed of desiderata, affirmations and negations.

Roberto Poli is right, in my view, to claim that:

“Life in all its varieties is anticipatory, the brain works in an anticipatory way, the mind is obviously anticipatory, society and its structures are anticipatory, even non-living or non-biological systems can be anticipatory.” (Poli, “The Many Aspects of Anticipation”, Foresight, 2009).

In my book L’art d’être libres au temps des automates (2010), I mentioned Alain Berthoz and his now influential research on the anticipatory brain – what he called simplexity: when the brain must take a decision and act, it has to simplify creatively according to certain models of its complex environment. The brain’s preaction is to project creatively into the real. Today, the view that the brain is predictive has gained momentum among mainstream analytic philosophers of mind (Clark et al.), although it will take a bit more time before these philosophers — who tend to rediscover much later what continental philosophers already foresaw earlier — realise that prediction is creative. For example Durkheim already knew in the nineteenth century that the mind is extended and embodied, and even collective.

In the next months, I will be referring to current research on artificial intelligence (in dialogue with computer scientists here in Sweden (for example Carlos Azevedo, from Ericsson Research or Alessandro Saffiotti and Lars Karlsson from Örebro University) to nourish my reflection on anthrobotic anticipatory systems. If it is true for example that the next step in AI is about world-models, as claimed by Yann LeCun, then the engineering of anticipatory features is worth observing from the point of view of the philosophy of technology and the history of ideas. What makes us (or what will make us) different from machines might turn around the idea of anticipation and world-realisation.

Poli offers a short bibliography on anticipation that I reproduce below, and that I intend to explore this year to contribute to anticipation studies from the point of view of the crealectician.

As I noted in Being and Neonness, our perception of the future cannot be only mechanistic, statistic, or probabilist. There is an element of creative intuition of what is to be realised that is part of our action on the real. Of course we live in anthrobotic systems, whether we like it or not (see my collective paper “We Anthrobot”, 2016): we need to integrate technology in our systematic approach, but we need also integrate the spiritual — what Gregory Bateson called “the mind” or what Spinoza called the third-kind knowledge of the body, which can be defined as an art of realization, a reading-shaping of the futures by intuiting the signs – the crealia – of the present.


Baianu, I. (Ed.). (2006). Complex Systems Biology and Life’s Logic in memory of Robert Rosen. Axiomathes.

Baianu, I., & Poli, R. (2009). From Simple to Super- and Ultra-Complex Systems: A Paradigm Shift Towards Non-Abelian Emergent System Dynamics. In R. Poli, M. Healy, & A. Kameas, TAO-Theory and Applications of Ontology. Vol. 2 Computer Applications. Dordrecht: Springer. Berthoz, A. (2003). La décision. Paris: Odile Jacob. Bloch, E. (1995). The Principle of Hope. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 3 vols. 

Brown, R., Glazebrook, J. F., & Baianu, I. C. (2007). A Conceptual Construction of Complexity Levels Theory in Spacetime Categorical Ontology: Non-Abelian Algebraic Topology, Many-Valued Logics and Dynamic Systems. Axiomathes , 409-493. Foresight 2009 

Butz, M. V., Sigaud, O., & Baldassarre, G. (2007). Anticipatory Behavior in Adaptive Learning Systems: From Brain to Individual an Social Behavior. Berlin: Springer.

Butz, M. V., Sigaud, O., & Gérard, P. (2003). Anticipatory Behavior: Exploiting Knowledge about the Future to Improve Current Behaviour. In M. V. Butz, O. Sigaud, & P. Gérard, Anticipatory Behavior in Adaptive Learning Systems (pp. 1-10). Berlin: Springer.

Camacho, E., & Bordous, C. (1998). Model Predictive Control. Berlin: Springer. Dubois, D. M. (2000). Review of Incursive, Hyperincursive and Anticipatory Sustems – Foundation of Anticipation in Electromagnetism. In D. M. Dubois, Computing Anticipatory Systems (pp. 3-30). The American Institute of Physics.

Ehresmann, A. C., & Vanbremeersch, J.-P. (2007). Memory Evolutive Systems, Hierarchy, Emergence, Cognition. Amsterdam: Elsevier. Hoffmann, J. (2003). Anticipated Behavioral Control. In M. V. Butz, O. Sigaud, & P. Gerard, Anticipatory Behavior in Adaptive Learning Systems (pp. 44-65). Berlin: Springer.

Husserl, E. (1991). On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time (1903-1917) . Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Kercel, S. W. (2004). The Role of Volume Transmission in an Endogenous Brain. Journal of Integrative Neuroscience , 7-18.

Leydesdorff, L. (2008). The Communication of Meaning in Anticipatory Systems: A Simulation Study of the Dynamics of Intentionality in Social Interactions. In D. M. Dubois, Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Computing Anticipatory Systems. Melville NY: American Institute of Physics.

Louie, A. H. (2008). Functional Entailment and Immanent Causation in Relational Biology. Axiomathes , 289-302.

Louie, A. H., & Kercel, S. W. (2007). Topology and Life Redux: Robert Rosen’s Relational Diagrams of Living Systems. Axiomathes , 109-136.

Luhmann, N. (1997). Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft, 2 vols. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Luhmann, N. (1995). Social Systems. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Maturana, H. (1981). Autopoiesis. In M. Zeleny, Autopoiesis: A Theory of Living Organization (pp. 21-33). New York: North Holland. Maturana, H., & Varela, F. (1980). Autopoiesis and Cognition. Boston: Reidel.

Mikulecky, D. (Ed.). (2007). System Theory and Biocomplexity (commemorative Issue, Roberto Rosen). Chemistry and Biodiversity .

Mulcahy, N. J., & Call, J. (2006). Apes Save Tools for Future Use. Science 312 , 1038-1040.

Nadin, M. (2004). Anticipation. The End is Where We Start From. Baden (Switzerland): Lars Mueller Publishers. 

Neo-Conservatism is a Postmodernism (and Thinkers Like Jordan Peterson Are Sad PoMos)

No matter what neo-conservatives would have you believe about universal archetypes and the perenity of human worlds, social reality is not a true universal, but a slowly built construct of convention.

What is a city – a polis? It’s a world, a co-created environment, a network of realizations “knotted” together to define a territory that is more or less shared, shaped by discourses, symbolic crystallizations, viscous ideological grammars serving the interests of temporary dominant groups and forming a bulwark both against external turbulence and internal ambitions. The hyperrealist prejudice has it that on earth there is only one, just about coherent world, i.e. the “capitalist-humanist” system, which strikes a delicate balance between maximizing financial surplus-value and controlling empathy. In the capitalist-humanist system we endure, our suffering is explained in terms of capital and humanism: the two fake-absolutes of money and human nature operate as a reassuring or controlling duo and are the means to a reification of life and corseting of subjectivities.

Many humans prefer to suffer in a familiar and consensual frame of reference rather than adventure into their fear of the meanders of creal perception. In sociology, the Thomas theorem attributed to William Isaac Thomas in 1928 has it that “If humans define situations as real, they are real in their consequences”.[1] Of course, social articulations are more complex that this, but it is fair to say that a city-polis, a social structure are the product of daily reconducted or modified agreements, drawn from among an infinite number of possible interpretations and configurations, extracted from the panphony of the Creal, the chaosmos as infinite network of virtuality. As the earth becomes globalized under the law of capitalist humanism, alternate possible words tend to be more difficult to establish sustainably; such is the paradox of laissez-faire that it produces mimetism.

If a majority agree in believing that the current global ideology is acceptable, then most actions will converge to validate and realize this belief: particular rites of passage will be repeated, for instance, perpetuating money as the means of universal symbolic exchange. Karl Marx wrote in his 1844 manuscripts: “By possessing the property of buying everything, by possessing the property of appropriating all objects, money is thus the object of eminent possession. The universality of its property is the omnipotence of its being. It is therefore regarded as an omnipotent being. Money is the procurer between man’s need and the object, between his life and his means of life. But that which mediates my life for me, also mediates the existence of other people for me. For me money is the other person.”[2]

Everyone knows from experience that our habits shape reality. It’s what we call the “force of circumstance” in common parlance. At the level of society, a “new” convention always appears within a system of conventions that precedes it. If the new convention is too far removed from its basis of application, it won’t be adopted easily. This is why social creation, societal renewal is a slow, viscous process, and radical individual creation even more difficult. For Thomas’s theorem to conform more closely to experience, we could reformulate it as follows: “If humans define a situation as real, and that this definition is not too far removed from the definition previously agreed on by most people, then the definition can in the mid-term become real in its consequences.” Let’s take the representation of a wave function of a violin string on a horizontal and vertical axis: generally speaking modulations are curved. As the physicist Leonard Susskind explained, a vertical rise of the wave function would mean that the string breaks. To change reality, you cannot attack it vertically, because it will break you faster than you manage to break it.

The world becomes sometimes what an efficient web of belief admires, provided the group actively relays the fervor underlying this admiration. More often than not the world becomes what most people reproduce out of frustration, confusion, and lack of cognitive integrity.

Neo-conservatives, Jordan Peterson and like-minded followers, condemn postmodernism and social constructivism, but they are themselves postmodernists: they are willing to shape the world in their image. Their strategy, one among others, it to refer to universal archetypes and eternal moral values. Don’t be fooled: they also are social-reality creators and want to impose a new domination. They are sad postmodernists, because they use the rhetoric of moralism and display a form of Sartrean bad faith by claiming that the past is the model of truth.

[1]The child in America: Behavior problems and programs. W.I. Thomas and D.S. Thomas. New York: Knopf, 1928: 571–572

[2]Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, Progress Publishers, Moscow 1959; Translated: by Martin Milligan from the German, p. 59:

Capitalism and Communism Have Merged: Don’t Take Freedom For Granted!

It may seem unexpected to suggest that freedom is a lost value. Are we not in a democracy? Are we not even, according to some conservatives, “too free” and not responsible enough? Perhaps we have been so in the second half of the twentieth century, but things have changed imperceptibly. We live in the era of automatons and the art of being free is lost. Worse, the total monitoring of our actions, coupled with an ubiquitous police of thought, makes us live rather in a period of totalitarianism, even if apparently smiling.
Intelligent and different minds, in times of freedom, make their ideas heard without fear. Today, they prefer to keep quiet because ideology is back. And indeed a unique form of thought is established, one that is most compatible with commercialism: the freedom to consume outweighs the freedom of expression, so that those who do not agree with the values ​​or the absence of values ​​of our civilisation seem doomed to identify with so-called “reactionary” thoughts: nationalism, traditionalism, communism. Radical Utopians today are moribund because they are precarious; or they are confused with the creators of digital start-ups. At first, the latter have a seductive language that everyone takes for a desire to create a better world. Then we realise that they work mainly for the success of a completely deregulated capitalism, imposing their market shares in an oligopolistic way. They are ambiguous beings, as is freedom today, between progress and subjugation, which La Boétie called “voluntary servitude”. What is happening?
Capitalism has absorbed communism, not by killing it, but by merging with some of its characteristics. First, the bureaucracy. It infiltrates everywhere today: the natural is the enemy of the regime. It is necessary that the words and gestures of the worker are controlled, conformed, timed, corseted. Everyone spends too much time filling out forms, which are not more lightweight because they are online. Then, egalitarianism. The hunt for elitism and difference is a war against the heads that stick above the values ​​of the system. We want the lowest common denominator. Under the pretext of humanism, we create regiments of sentimental idiots, infantilized, incapable of logical thought and firm decision. We produce a uniform humanity, and behind speeches of tolerance we prepare the automata of tomorrow. A humanity, a Reich, and a führer who has no face, because his name is Big Brother. George Orwell was right when he described 1984: it’s happening today.
But this painting is too black, and a flame remains, of course. Freedom is in our hearts, buried somewhere under comfort, conformism and the fear of loneliness or social rejection. What is then true freedom? To live the life that our soul suggests to us, to make the world our intimate co-creation, and to cultivate early enough the necessary intelligence to understand our desires, keeping the noblest, the most authentic. To be free is to be able to surround ourselves with peers and create the community we wish to create without artificial obstacles. Freedom is about being aware of our automatisms. It is obvious that we are beings of protocol, of conditioning, if only because we are prisoners of a language, of an era, a society, laws, our body. But by understanding ourselves we gain the right to say NO to those who do not understand us or who do not want to understand us. In the end, freedom is the love of mutual understanding rather than common imitation. Freedom is the love of parallel universes, of possibilities. It is the fidelity to the idea that whatever our comfort, or our distress, a world that is no longer open to radical change, to experimentation, and to the consideration of all ideas without moralistic condemnation, a world that is not multiple and deeply pluralistic, is a dead world. Liberty is, as Rabelais put it, a temple above which is marked the formula Do what you want. When we have solved the political equation in which every living being does what she wants, we will have crealised the state of freedom. It is an asymptotic utopia, an impossible one, but one can be faithful to its ideal. Because if you do not target the stars you will not not take one step forward.