ZIGZAGZINE #26, structure #8: A complex network 1: the relativity of the absolute



In search of the most appropriate viewpoint to catch sight of the motives behind the emotions and personal values which act upon human actions and thinking, I now want to look more closely at the relations between the process and its part processes, both inside a process as between processes themselves. For the human process and its part processes, like moving a hand or the process of a single cell in a muscle, I take again in most cases myself as example, as that should give me right of speech. I find myself since birth in relation with all sorts of processes in the world; not just a biological relation, but also intellectual, emotional and intuitive relations with processes which in one way or another can be relevant for my development, or for that of somebody or something else in my environment. The world itself is, from my point of view, a process.

Having studied, in my search thus far, the components of the process - mainly abstractions - I will turn now to the system as a whole and the relations which hold it together, its coherence. Gradually we should reach a more recognizable world, the abstraction shall get a structure and with that gain a more tangible form.

But first some arguments and a little history.


The situation, the process as a system

A form of processes which has the pretension to be the basic structure of all things must indeed be a clear and logically organized whole [ source ]. I have been working from that statement since part 6 of this line. I do not differentiate between open and closed systems and not between natural systems and systems created by men. Because an organism, a living system, seems to be the most complicated I often choose that as my viewpoint. Not because it should be more important [ note ].

Links to
structure #6/2 about a process as system,
structure #16/5 about series of processes.

Paradoxes, playing with the absolute

"A system can never be entire". This statement is a consequence and a distinct reduction of 'Gödel's theorem' or the 'Incompleteness theorem' which says that, looking from the inside of a formal system, we can never know its limits. It is a mathematical theorem about the unprovablility of statements which exceed the borders of a system, as paradoxes like to muddle levels. It also clarifies the important matter of the difference between truth and proof. Kurt Gödel came to this theorem in answer to the question of what was wrong with the idea that a system, like that of the whole numbers, could be described in full [ note ]. I take the liberty to apply Gödel's theorem to the process. Let me try some examples.
In the beginning, when I began with Zigzagzine, I searched for an answer to my question of what could be the sense of my life. I discovered that I can only really know that answer when I can look back upon my life, but in order to do so I'll have to be dead. I shall reach the perfecting, but never live to look back on it. So I cannot know my purpose fully, it is a given fact and as long as I am still in the process I can conjecture something, but prove nothing. Let me compare that with the situation of having written a letter (a subprocess that I have generated myself). I can know the letter inside out. On account of the letter and about the sense of it I could go on writing books for a lifetime. Letter level: it is possible to prove that e.g. one sentence is needed to understand another one. Rini level: it is possible to prove that the letter or sentences from it have had certain consequences for me. At the level of my whole life: it is impossible for me to prove in how far the letter has contributed to the realisation of my purpose in life.
Whether the statement by a human being of 'God exists' is true is a statement which is not provable inside the system world. Everyone is free to believe that it is true.
Whether the statement by a Cretan of 'All Cretans are liars' is true is a statement which cannot be proved inside the system of all Cretans. Everybody is free to believe that but I would not recommend it.
Whether Whitehead's statement 'Everything in the world is process' is true is a statement which is not provable inside the system world. Nevertheless, I am so free as to believe him, for the same practical reason why I believe that quantum particles are processes, namely because the process enables a better description of the world than was the case before.
In order to draw such conclusions Gödel would first have transposed them into Gödel numbers. That method was his discovery.
I think there is no need to describe the limits of both the all-embracing system 'world' and the smallest systems. I have indicated them in part 19 of this line.

Links to
structure #19/6 about extreme limits.

Co-ordination and the relativity of extremes

Earlier on, in part 23 of this line, I have gratefully used the idea of an Extensive Continuum [ note ]. Whitehead, thinking from the unlimited, stated that there is in the EC an infinite and unlimited potential and that there is order. The process chooses its potentialities from that. Unlike Whitehead however, I think that our four-dimensional world of processes draws a standard set of potentialities from that continuum which, in an individual manner, are co-ordinated by means of relations. If the world might have been able to choose another set of potentialities then that would have yielded a totally different world. If every process could choose its own combination, as he proposed, then it would be impossible to recognise the resemblances behind the differences in animals and things and every form of repetition of processes would be impossible. Anyhow, the conclusion which I draw is that our process 'world' is based on a set number of well-defined potentialities, apart from the four dimensions for space and time, in unique co-ordination on account of their connections, transforming during progress. From the fact that there is co-ordination I conclude that chance does not exist.

Starting from the perspective which my location inside the bounds of the world offers, I am now going to try to describe systematically that structured whole in potentialities, connections and co-ordinated progress. I start with the potentialities.

Link to
structure #23/7 about world-views and the Extensive Continuum.


Potentialities, the building stones of the process

In the previous zine in this series I gave a short survey of the components with which the process is built. There are a location in space and time, an inner world with its own spacetime system, an outer world with its spacetime system and there are also the phases, the colourings and the capacities or functions.
When we want to try to understand the process we need to do so by looking for resemblances and differences and categorise them in concepts. The series of characterising concepts or symbols consists of contrasts with their counterparts. They give cohesion to the components of the structure. The same series of concepts returns in all the different layers of the structure. These returning potentialities for the characteristics of processes give them mutual knowability. In their order the intrinsic dynamics of the process is hidden. They propel progress. As structural counterparts the separate notions should be interpreted in a polar way. I have treated the contrasts and their counterparts earlier (in structure #5 en #5x) but I give here, in combination with the other components, a general overview of the components.

contrast name  description phase  function  colouring  aspect 

the polof
the self:
triviality  impulse / as yet without meaning   1  activate  impulsive conjunct 
greatness  attention, do I recognise this?   2  reference  persisting  halfsxt.ut 
flux  difference, meaning, knowledge   3  transfer  changing  sextile.ut 
permanence  bonding / foothold / home   4  emot.basis  constant square.ut 
disjunction  the ego / playfulness / show oneself   5  self govern  testing  triangle.ut 
conjunction  possible / analysis / result   6  analyse  workable  inconj.ut 

the polof
the other:
good + 
help / attract alternatives   7  adaptation  inviting  opposition 
evil + 
rejecting / choice / power  8  remove  concentrated  inconj.in 
joy + 
believe / idealise / expand   9  interpret  exploring limits  triangle.in 
sorrow + 
perfection / fear / structuring  10  consistency  confining  square.in 
necessity + 
accept / community 11  renew  affirming limits  sextile.in 
freedom + 
archive / unconscious / let go  12  integrate  dissolving limits  halfsxt.in 

Table of components.
The pairs of contrasts can be placed in such an order that they - in the circle of the process - also form pairs of counterparts. Here I try to show how potentialities (the contrasts / counterparts) appear in the procedure of the phases, the functions, the colourings and also in the working of the aspect relations. Because of the fact that they are mutually connected in different manners and at different levels the character of a potentiality is originally a personal disposition. Through progress in time (which of necessity takes place in relation with its changing outer context) these dispositions gradually develop into a property with a very individual character.

Extra tables, amplified with sound- and light frequencies.

Links to
structure #23/7 list of components,
structure #26/8x tables of components,
general survey of basic elements of processes 1: the network of relations,
structure #16/5 about contrasts and counterparts,
structure #16/5x tables of contrasts and counterparts,
the universal organism: development of the world of spacetime & quanta.


Connections, the essence of the process

I propose here that the singularity of the process lies enclosed in its relations. The relations determine its once-only uniqueness. Relations or connections are inherent to processes in space and time. In this way matter is a process of concrescence of processes and a conversation as much so. But what exactly is being connected by relations? As I said before, potentialities are related, but possibilities occur in different forms, like working areas, work forms, tools or functions. In addition some relations themselves carry a specific potentiality. I am alluding to the aspects between the functions. In the course of the search we might discover even more relations in the network.
The characteristic properties of a process develop by means of the relations with which the process maintains connections between its potentialities and from the nature and the quality of these relations.

Relations connect functions with a phase and with its colouring as well as functions in mutual aspect with one or more other functions, and thus they form often extremely complicated combinations; the polarity relations, for instance, add a demand for nuancing of the functions or phases involved.
Relations can, like functions, phases and colourings, be regarded as frequencies and concentrations. In my opinion they work as I think that frequencies and concentrations work, they obey the same natural laws. The relations add to a certain datum another datum with another frequency and the combined properties interfere. This can not only lead to differences in colour, size and temperature, but also to coarsing or refinement, weakening, greater flexibility, transparancy, to confusion, or quiet, etc.
Then there are the relations with the environment as time progresses. My relatedness with the whole is, by extension, the relatedness of everything with everything. The relations between process and world allows the development of process and world.

Three families or groups of relations

In search of the kind of connections of processes I first categorise them in three families of relations which I present in sequence of increasing complexity:

  1. The one relation between the world or the process 'world' and the one process. I would have to look at this relation from outside the world, if this were possible. The relation consists between on the one side the process world and on the other side the processes which it generates, the sub and part processes. The relation of the world with the processes is polar in the sense that they try to realise their given function together. The relation includes a mutual interest in co-ordination.
    I call this the - universal relation -
  2. The relations included in a process are either anchored in her structure or issue from her given function with the initial preconditions which are laid down therein.
    1. Structural relations are:
      • the relation of unity, of the cycle of the process,
      • the relation of co-ordinating progression by the repetition of the process in an ever changing environment, implies the preservation of experience and feedback,
      • relations of polar dynamics,
        1. between the inner world with its own spacetime and the spacetime in the outside world,
        2. between poles of space and of time,
      • relations of energy,
        1. between the elements among themselves,
        2. between the working methods among themselves,
      • relations of affinity between the components of the groups of phases, colourings and potentialities.
    2. Functional relations are:
      • the relation of the pattern, this combination of the series of work areas with the series of work methods is well-known by now,
      • relations of expression, these are the relations between the pattern and the functions,
      • relations of aspectation which in different ways connect the potentialities within the structure. Because of their mutual relations functions interfere and the character of a potentiality is modified, strengthened or weakened, is variation or nuancing brought into the pattern and in the function's way of expression. They form the working material of the process in its course of development,
      • relations of interweaving, in which the functions can be active mutually for one another in different areas.

    I call these relations the - internal relations -

  3. The relations of a process with other processes consist of relations between events with a different standpoint in space and time. They can be processes which run parallel in time, like co-processes. The co-processes can be looked upon either separately or as a unit: the world of our perception or the 'Zeitgeist'. They can also be specific events which take place at a point later in time or have begun earlier, are close by or happen elsewhere. In essence these are the relations between the characteristics of the own system of co-ordinates and the characteristics of other systems of co-ordinates (the term other systems includes all recurrences of the process) in other words, it is all about the progress of systems in space and time. In their physical, intellectual, instinctive and introspective characteristics all systems are by definition in some measure different.
    I'll describe these relations either starting from myself or from a standpoint that lies outside the processes involved.
    These are the relations of actual interaction between two (or more) systems of co-ordinates in which the worlds of our perception or 'Zeitgeist' take shape.
    I call these relations the - external relations -

In the next zines of this line I shall further develop the three groups.


The process in the progression of time

A process, a system with its components and relations, cannot be described unless in relation with an encompassing system, out of which it has originated, with the help of which it develops itself and inside of which it performs its duties in interaction with other systems.
I have often used the words developmental process, process of becoming and learning- or growth process. The one term sounds more human than the other, but what is important is that no matter which process, it develops on its way towards its goal. Development means progress in space and time. Apart from that, progress in space does not mean that a rock could move itself, only that its form changes gradually in time. Development and progress for the process include resistance and frustation as well as success. Development proceeds until the end, with emphasis on until; after all a process, as a system, cannot go through completion during its lifetime.
Develop oneself on the road to its own goal. The question which can be put here is whether a purpose works for one's own benefit or rather for the benefit of somebody or something else. In all cases there is one purpose for the benefit of the world as a whole. The profit for the process itself lies in taking pleasure, in fulfilling the purpose. Everything a process does and experiences, including resistance, frustation and detours, is aimed at that purpose.

The development of complicated processes like those of animals and plants is special. It displays - generally speaking, I am not a biologist - a step by step development. The properties of the species are passed on via genes. More recent information can also be laid down in genes. At the moment of conception egg cell and germinating cell come together and the genes of the parents unite. It is quite clear, here lies the beginning of a new process.
The egg cell starts to develop, in some cases in the womb, until the young animal leaves the egg or is born and can begin to further develop as an autonomous being. In the development from caterpillar via cocoon into butterfly we can observe an extra period. We see something comparable in plants; the seed usually spends some time in the earth before it starts its development as a new individual plant. Both in animal and plant life there is a distinct new beginning of an intentional relation with the world.
Seen as a process this is a complicated but clear matter. At the moment of insemination a new compound process in the animal or plant family starts. The first question is whether it shall only ever develop into an autonomous relation with the world. At every larger step which I have mentioned above (and there are of course billions of smaller steps) a new process with its own purpose starts. The original process that began at insemination has as its goal to continue the species and the family. The later process, which does have an apparent moment of beginning of its relation with the world, has as its goal the development of the process with its individual progress and history. It might have the purpose to give the species new impulses and better adapt to its circumstances. Both processes have an exact standpoint in space and time and are intrisically unique. At the moment in its progress that the purpose has been reached, the compound process falls apart in the smallest processes possible.

Progress and recursion

The development phenomenon is quite remarkable. Progress and gradual development are based on repetition, a new cycle, indeed with some difference, as it is always another (sub)process and neither is the environment for a moment the same. Repetition can get out of hand, exactly because it tends to a passive automatism.
Most animals and plants get eaten and precisely because of that the species remain healthy. The balance between eater and food is maintained via the mechanism that, when preditors or herbivores in an area grow too large in number, food supply diminishes, whereupon they go hungry and their numbers will diminish. After which food can recover and a new temporary balance will arise. The earth, of course, also has a suitable control mechanism in case the balance gets disturbed on a larger scale. People need passive recursion, routine, but it can lead to extremities. When such a thing fixates, we can derail and get enveloped in forms of addiction which literally leave behind deep traces. A co-ordinate process, like the legal system or the ecological system to which we belong, will correct derailments or try something else.

There are two ways for an individual to handle progress:

  • apply passive recursion, let yourself drift on the stream and dream of happiness.
    It means living in the future. The steering comes from the environment.
  • apply active recursion, search for a solution at a higher level and in actuality start co-ordinating your progress.
    That is a process of carefully disengaging yourself from being regulated by your environment and run into the question "What do I want instead?". It means making time to pay attention to your own life, to be alert at how you handle outside influences. Gradually you can develop other behaviour and perhaps discover what your one way may be by applying yourself to self-coördination.

In order to be able to make the step between envelop and develop some conditions have to be met. That subject will be raised at a later stage.

Progress in an ever transitory environment

A process creates for itself its own environment by looking at everything from its function. That has consequences especially for what it notices in that environment, how it interprets the possibilities of and the reactions from the environment, in brief how it colours and hears, cherishes expectations, assesses time and space. The environment in its turn experiences the process and reacts to it.
In the mean time the environment as a whole follows its own development as process, with which I mean that the environment, whether we notice or not, grows and shows differences. Whether we notice or not the environment offers the individual process possibilities, but these are not constant. A process may create its own environment, it does so on the basis of what is present and how it offers itself. What we usually call the spirit of the time shows variations and it changes gradually. Weather and local politics take effect on us, war and revenge have their impact just like a friendly gesture or a wise decision. What the effect will be and how deep it touches the recipient largely depends on the recipient.

These subjects will return later in the discussion of the relations.

Link to
structure #16/5 about clones and individuality


What comes next

Now I can proceed with the discussion of the three parts of the network. So next is the first group, the universal relation.