Invention Is Already Part of Reality

How a snowflake forms

Emergent dynamic systems are spontaneously ordered — they exhibit statistically constrained patterns. This constraining is not something imposed from the outside or even by some internal regulator. The regularity that the system exhibits is a global property of the system.

It is clear that these differing dynamic systems exhibit distinct forms of novelty production and stabilization. We can properly call these spontaneous system’s outcomes “inventions” — that weather is spontaneously ordered into rain, mist, snow, hail, tornadoes etc. These are systems inventions.

Creativity — the invention of novel ordered states of reality is intrinsic to reality. Such a creativity is not limited to the deliberate intentional acts of certain living beings, or even in the evolutionary tendencies of all living things - that would be an invented reality. But invention is a systems property of reality.

That certain dynamic systems spontaneously produce novelty and stabilize it into ongoing processes (forms), and others can capture, maintain, regenerate, and even produce new constraining dynamics in anti-entropic manners must be considered great acts of creativity and innovation.

What of us and our capacities? We are ourselves dynamic processes nested and entangled within, across and of other dynamic systems. The inventive dynamics of reality is the ocean that all our actions — our very lives, including our creative acts, emerge out of, and fold back into — we, along with all reality, swim in, and are of, a deep and vast inventive ocean.

It could be argued that we are different — special even— because we can uniquely act in intentional (end directed) manners, and thus our inventiveness is of a wholly different order. But, are we really unique in this aspect? in this we are part of a world of dynamic systems that are teleodynamic. Telos here meaning end/goal directed, with the goal being the maintaining of the system. These systems actively produce, capture, maintain and regenerate a limited pattern of states (they are actively self constraining). Living systems are examples of this, but so too are social patterns, ecosystems and much else.

“Teleodynamic” systems emerge from the synergies between the coming together of multiple morphodynamic processes. The world is spontaneously filled with un-authored emergent dynamic systems that have a clear “directedness” — we see this in ecosystems, human systems, and it occurs at multiple scales — we are not unique in possessing such intentionality.

It is no doubt possible that we are unique, but our inventiveness is not something that uniquely begins in our heads and is then imposed upon passive amorphous stuff finally giving it “order” “form” and “purpose.” That was already there, our inventiveness is rather in how we experiment with and within the ongoing inventiveness of reality.

on What Is Innovation, and How to Innovate

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