a Female, and a Male form of physics?

Peter Heffron had liked my idea for how our economy could imitate the natural means for a growth system to transform to become stable, in explaining my comment that “I think removing the growth orientation from “sustainability” might be a lot easier than adding its “getting the parts to work together” aspect into “degrowth” (further discussed fyi).  I then showed him the very simple world model demonstrating the biomimicry for how a profit seeking economy (rather than growth obsessed one) could smoothly change strategies in mid-stream to achieve it.

He suggested I show it in a full scale world model, a big task, and I asked if he knew anyone with who might be interested in inserting my biomimicry concept into their model. He replied in a surprising way, as if I might not have heard of my own field of science essentially, so I felt I needed to go back to basics in my reply.    I think it ends up being a nice statement, of what’s going on here, as a struggle to reconnect our theories with the natural world humans are struggling to find how to become part of again.

Women mostly don’t lose the basic ability to connect with nature, easily using words as being defined by the things of nature they refer to.   It’s men who get frustrated by that, and rely, to a point of complete preoccupation sometimes, on defining words as abstractions made from other abstractions, struggling to rationalize an abstract world in their heads. That difference is a large part too, of what distinguishes my new form of physics for studying the forms of nature in their own terms, going back and forth with the traditional physics for representing nature as abstract theories, connecting the two ways of thinking that all my work has been about for the last ~35 years…

Jessie, I believe your wise perspectives on things would be powerfully enhanced through the use of basic ‘systems thinking’ and ‘system dynamics’ principles, methods, and tools. It’s never too late, and as systems thinking guru Donella Meadows said, “Even the simplest systems concepts help.” To start I think the main thing is to be genuinely curious enough (as opposed to turned-off or terrified) to find out more about systems thinking and system dynamics. You can always Google those terms. Wikipedia has good, user-friendly definitions and background information. A great book for beginners–and everyone– is “Thinking in Systems,” by Donella Meadows. Good websites: The Creative Learning Exchange (even though–or especially!–because it is K-12-oriented) (www.clexchange.org), The System Dynamics Society (www.systemdynamics.org), Donella Meadows Institute ( www.donellameadows.org), Forio Online Simulations (http://forio.com) … For your purposes, ‘humans’ with user-friendly systems thinking backgrounds can be found easily through the Donella Meadows Institute. GOOD LUCK Jessie! Cheers, -Peter
    Peter, You suggest I’m not familiar with traditional systems modeling, probably because you don’t recognize my systems thinking approach. I was just saying that creating world models like the Limits to Growth, that Meadows and Randers developed, is an enormous undertaking that requires time, data, assistants and computers I don’t have.

    So I’d love to find either monetary or ecological economists with models they have developed, to work with to add in the new features I’d suggest.

    I’d be proposing ways a systems model can more accurately describe a world like ours, that is full of independently organized and independently behaving parts, prone to changing their behavior. That’s the area of systems knowledge in which I specialize. I’d be eager to find people with the resources and interests in new technique to collaborate with.

    In the 70’s I happened to develop my own general systems theory
    to address some of the things missing from traditional systems dynamics.

    I sort of had to start from scratch, actually, to find a way to change the subject from models to studying the systemic behaviors of individual units of organization observed in nature, to study systems as actual “things” rather than as “theories”. Traditional systems thinking only studies abstract models, even if they give them the names of things sometimes, right? 

    I found a way to study individual systems in their natural form, with “milestones” rather than “models”. It would be quite valuable if people took the help I offer for answering some of the new riddles of science the study of systems as objects of nature presents . For example, a traditional system’s thinking approach will not tell you when something that is getting “bigger” will become “big”. That difference between changing size and changing relationships is of critical importance in nature.

    When something “gets big” It marks an old set of relationships being replaced by a new one, and not about numeric variables. The latter is what SD models try to boil the world down to, but also then force such models to omit the former from their descriptions of the world. They leave out autonomous organization and behavior of the individual parts of natural systems, and their large influences in natural events. My question that pointed to something big missing from physics “Well, what does make life lively?!”. Physics ultimately describes everything as animated only by decay, and so constantly running down, quite unlike the highly eventful kinds of change we see all around us.

    What I finally found useful was studying how finite events and processes begin and end. If you look closely at things of any scale one can generally find evidence of their beginning and ending, by progressive developmental processes. They may temporarily appear to exhibit “regular growth” (constant positive feedback) or “regular decay” (constant negative decay) but close study also exposes those are times of fluidly changing organization too. As a life cycle, it’s common to say that all events start from next to nothing to lead to next to nothing, and I found I could say with high confidence that they did so by local progressive organizational processes. My “glyph” for that is “¸¸¸.•´ ¯ `•.¸¸¸”.

    I’ve taken it quite far, as a new form of physics, and a general systems theory for studying the units of organization of the natural world in their own form.

    Traditional systems models invariably represent nature as a human concept, of rules relating numbers. Because conceptual models need to have defined parts and relations, they actually don’t have the ability to refer to natural complex systems which are full of undefined and independently behaving parts and relations (like people, the weather, businesses etc). Part of what’s hard to understand is a gender difference between how men and women usually think about systems.

    Women more often use words to refer to things they observe them (home, family, relationships), and men to use words to refer to abstract concepts they think of (laws, money, contracts etc.).   Neither gender is restricted, but as they often use the same words to refer to very different things… they may also commonly not think the other is making the least bit of sense, failing to realize they are discussing quite different subjects.   There are also very real and significant differences between how the world of natural objects women more often talk about works from the world of conceptual ones men explain the natural world with…. (a problem).

    Anyway,… my physics might be thought of as “female” in that regard, for being about actual things of nature, rather than “male”, for being about representing nature with abstract theory.

    I try to be clear when using a word like “system” whether I’m using it to refer to something real in nature, or to an abstract theory, but some people have difficulty following.   It’s “going back and forth” between the two views that enables them to enrich each other, though, and let me help theorists build better models.   It often hard to explain where my new ideas for theoretical models are coming from, that I get then from observing how systems of nature do it.   I’m essentially “mining” nature for new “cybernetic body parts”, that observation can make clear and corresponding abstract theories seem to be missing…. ;-)


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