(Copyright © 2000 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
The physicist Murray Gell-Mann has written
a book on complexity (i.e., nonlinearity) that tries to bridge the simple
(e.g., elementary particles) and the complex (e.g., a living organism).
"It is not simple to define simple". Gellman defines it as the absence of complexity.
According to superstring theory subatomic particles are compactified hyperdimensional space (matter having originated when six of the original dimensions of space collapsed into superstrings).
Gell-man provides a modern account of quantum mechanics, based on Richard Feynman's view of many alternative possible histories of the universe as a direct consequence of chance. The probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics allows the universe to unfold in an infinite number of ways. The second law of thermodynamics permits the temporary growth of order in relatively isolated, energy-driven systems.
Complex adaptive systems behave in accordance with the second law of thermodynamics. Biological evolution is a complex adaptive system that complies with that law once the entire environment, and not only the single organism, is taken into account. Once complex adaptive systems establish themselves they operate through a cycle that involves variable schemata, randomness, phenotypic consequences and feedback of selection pressures to the competition among schemata.
Living organisms dwell "on the edge of chaos", as they exhibit order and chaos at the same time, and they must exhibit both in order to survive. Living organisms are complex adaptive systems that retrieve information from the world, find regularities, compress them into a schema to represent the world, predict the evolution of the world and prescribe behavior for themselves. The schema may undergo variants that compete with one another. Their competition is regulated by feedback from the real world under the form of selection pressure. Disorder is useful for the development of new behavior patterns that enable the organism to cope with a changing environment.