From Simplicity to Hypercomplexity: The G, Q, C Factors

by Varadaraja V. Raman

14 Dec 1997
HiLight p00i1400

The greatest insight and achievement of classical physics was to show that the (physical) world on our scale consists of phenomena based on mathematically formulable and tractable laws. And these phenomena are precisely predictable.

The greatest insight and achievement of twentieth century physics has been to show that the microcosm (the world of elementary corporundals or momenergies: i.e. entities that have only momentum and energy at the subatomic level) consists of phenomena based on mathematically formulable laws, but that microcosmic phenomena are only statistically (probabilistically) predictable. The probabilistic evolutions are intrinsic to quantum systems.

The significance of the above is to be seen in this: that there are levels of reality in which different kinds of laws operate.

Next there is a level of complex reality (biological systems, clouds, etc.) in which chaos comes into play. We define chaos as a small causative factor which leads to very significant consequences. For example, a single hit by a cosmic ray particle on a gene may lead to mutations of enormous long-range significance.

Finally, we may define a hypercomplex level of reality in which mind and meaning come into play. Here the chaos factor becomes even more dramatic. (Just think of any chance occurrence in your life and its long range consequences.)

All these results may be formulated a la Heisenberg by introducing three symbols: G (predictable goal factor), Q (quantum world factor, intrinsic to he system) and C (chaos factor), and writing:

GQ + GC + QC = k (a constant).

    (a) At the classical (everyday and astronomical) level, Q = 0, C = 0, therefore G = infinity. This means that the evolution of the phenomenon (like the next appearance of Halleys comet or the path of a missile) can be fully predicted by knowing the laws and the initial conditions.

    (b) At the quantum level, C = 0, Q is large. Therefore GQ = k. This gives a small value for G.

    (c) At the level of complexity, Q = 0, but C is large. Therefore GC = k makes G quite small.

    (d) At the hypercomplex level, Q = 0, but C is very, very large. This makes G very, very small.

Viewed from this perspective, the debate about freewill and determinism relates to two questions:

    (a) Can C be tracked by physics and chemistry?

      If we accept the notion of levels of reality the answer is No, because otherwise C can be subsumed under G. Since it is well established that Q cannot be tracked down even by the most sophisticated instruments (Heisenberg microscope), there is nothing “unscientific” or “limiting” in surpising (if not concluding) that C too cannot be tracked down experimentally or conceptually, just as one cannot predict why one rather than another nucleus in a radioactive sample will decay in the next minute.

    (b) Is C is intrinsic or extrinsic to the system?

      Interestingly enough, making C intrinsic (which is what a classically-minded physicist may be inclined to say) makes free-will a consequence of brain function (which is what such a person would tend to deny). On the other hand, given consequences of significance to the system, making C extrinsic to the system may persuade one to accept or at least consider the possibility of a teleological causative agent for C.

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