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The Change of the Simple

ashi's picture

The simplistic gives rise to the complex, which in turn gives rise to the simplistic, which then gives rise to the complex again, etc. This is something that will never change; the simple and complex are codependent—one cannot exist without the other. However, the forms of the simple and complex change with each cycle. They can never be exactly the same twice; however, they can manifest similar forms in the future which can also be defined as simple and complex. Everything which we are and will be is constantly changing based on time and influence, but to our minds and as a part of this cycle we perceive the cycle as linear and never changing because we do not wish to see before or beyond what we are. Even the smallest thing in our existence influences something in us and creates change. Change is inevitable but it comes in forms which are different each time.

As humans we are complex organisms which came into being after the dinosaurs died which allowed us to flourish. Without the existence of the dinosaurs and the other primitive life forms which would later develop into what we are today, no humans would exist. The dinosaurs are the complex life form which existed and were sacrificed for the rise of an organism that was better adapted for the latter situation. The rise and fall of simple and complex organisms is a constant change which has happened so often that we would like to believe that it is no longer a change but a constant state. This however, is clearly not the case. All the simple organisms which arise are different in their own ways and not exactly alike. This is what makes it a change and not a constant state.

The big bang is thought to be the first event in our universe which gave rise to all the stars and the planets, etc. On earth single cell organisms eventually started developing and rapidly increasing in number. They are what eventually led to plant life and organisms like the dinosaurs. These simple organisms developed and grew into a variety of different complex organisms which were able to flourish and sustain their livelihoods. At the time, they were a good example of adaptation and survival. When the dinosaurs became extinct it gave rise to simple creatures which would later develop into humans as we know them today. If the dinosaurs had not died out we would not exist as a species. The dinosaurs, who at the time were complex were no longer fit to survive in their environment and the simpler forms of humans started to thrive. These simple humans were not single celled organisms but were simpler in comparison to those of the highly developed and adapted dinosaurs. The complex had given rise to the simplistic.

We as humans today go through changes every day in our lives however we like changes which are constant and never changing. For example, we seek to explain the unknowns in our world through the use of science which uses logic and patterns. Our society is regulated by laws which are cyclic, predictable and patterned. These are ways in which we try to control change and hide from it. Topics like death and the unknown are scary to the human psyche because of the complications which they through into the pattern. Even so change cannot be avoided and we as the complex organisms must in turn give rise to those more simple yet more adapted. We as humans with our higher brain function have developed machines and computers which are coming to replace human labor. The things which used to be done by manual labor can now be done in a more productive and effiecent way with massive machines, which in turn allows us to use our brains for other processes.

These machines are in their own ways simple organisms. We teach them how to use their programming to do a specific job and if they are programmed well they survive and are put to a purpose. Concepts of artifical intelligence are being developed, tested and implemented as we speak. A.I. is just another form of a complex organism which developed from a machine as simple as a calculator. Organisms, like viruses, have also been helped by humans and we have given rise to them. Many viruses have been becoming harder and harder to treat as a result of their “learning curve”, they learn to adapt to the new medicines which we use to treat them. They are able to counter it and this enables them to grow and survive. These processes are not unlike the way in which humans and dinosaurs have developed in the past. The simple and the complex are codependent and ever changing.


Paul Grobstein's picture

Does new complexity depend on new simplicity?

Particularly in the context of our discussions of biological evolution expanding into greater complexity, I'm intrigued by the notion that "The simple and the complex are codependent and ever changing", in a cycle in which "The simplistic gives rise to the complex, which in turn gives rise to the simplistic, which then gives rise to the complex again, etc". For things to go from simpler to more complex (and be dependent on the simpler) makes sense to me, but the other direction? Dinosaurs as more complex organisms who disappeared to be replaced by "simpler" mammals that in turn gave rise to more complex mammals (humans)? That's an interesting way to think about it. Can you make a serious causal argument about this? One in which you can compare "complexity" in dinosaurs and early mammals? Replacements of humans by human created "simpler" things is equally intriguing, but equally in need of more careful argument. Viruses is perhaps the most easily made argument, the simpler not coming into existence except for niches made available by the more complex. This seems to me very much worth thinking more about, biologically and otherwise. Is there some broad reason why complexity has to be repeated generated from the simple instead of more directly from existing lesser complexity? Why do we all start from "simple" embryos? Why do we tend to transform the narrative into the non-narrative?