Seems pretty obvious, but you are where you are because of all your past interactions. Gandhi, Pelé, Elvis, Mother Theresa have become themselves because they have learned particular forms of interaction in childhood and applied that knowledge in their lifes. Have we ever tried to understand something so obvious as interaction? Amazingly… never. We’ve studied applied interaction on some fields, but never as a matter itself.
We learn to interact since childhood. We learn millions of forms of interactions, from the easily perceptible interactions with our mothers to the mysterious cellular interactions of our body with the external world. Therefore our knowledge of interaction is subject to several pre existent ideas. Moreover, it is difficult to change.
How to start?
Well, maybe the simplest concept to learn on the journey to learning the principles of interaction is system. Almost every thing that can be named is a system. That is not the formal definition of a system, but is enough for the next term, related to interaction: subjectivity.
We are used to think bad about subjectivity: subjective is bad, objective is good. In fact, this is a bad approach, mainly for interaction. What is good for an organism can be bad for another different one, that is subjectivity. We are used to think of trees as complex systems that perform complex tasks and produce complex results. That is objectivity. But for animals, trees are mostly air filters. Animals cannot live without trees. That is subjectivity.
Seems pretty obvious and even stupid. But now, think on a business. Each member wants what the other has because they are different, they have different capabilities. So they interchange things, and improve each one’s situation. Imagine you barter an apple for a shirt (money is just something we use to represent one of those objects), so you eat (grow, develop, feed), but your exchange partner also gets a benefit. He dresses, protects, appeals. That is subjectivity: every system can get benefits from some interactions, and it is completely normal for both systems to be damaged or improved, and in many cases being one damaged and the other improved. Objectivity is good for understanding business, but being objective about subjectivity is the trick to understand how money is created. That can be even more profitable.
Now that you understand that subjectivity allows you to get benefit by interacting with other systems, you may assume that the more you interact, the more the benefit you get. That’s true. But why can you take profit of something that other one can’t? That is the second thing to learn: dimensionality
What is an apple? For you, it is a beautiful in appearance and tasty flavor food. For your stomach, it is a source of nutrients. For your cells, it is a sugar transporter. For your molecules, it is a catalyzer, a chemical reactor, a vitamins source… and so on. It contains multiple dimensions… Are you joking? There are only three dimensions on this universe! The flavor, a dimension? This guy is mad…
This is another common fallacy that we require to destroy before understanding interaction. Math is related to objectivity, and that demands dimensions to be pure. But that doesn’t mean that mixing dimensions and relating that to another concept is forbidden. In nature that is normal, pure dimension do not exist in nature. Pure dimensions are just a human invention. Natural systems exist having lots of different and compound dimensions.
Well, then, dimensionality is the second big concept to learn. In simple terms, every measure that we can do over a system is a dimension. Formally, just by extension of this last principle, not every measure, but every property of a system is a dimension. That means that the bigger the system, the complexer its set of dimensions. The interesting thing can be exemplified as this: every animal has a different understanding of an apple, some may like, some may hate it. Extending this idea to the systemic field, every system in nature has a subjective approach of all dimensions of another system. Basically not all systems can react in front of multiple dimensions of other systems (an apple is not sensitive to magnetism), but to some of them (a heat source will affect an apple).
Those are the basics of interaction. Now you are ready for the heavy stuff.
What is the Theory of Interaction?
The Theory of Interaction (TOI) is a complement for the General Systems Theory (GST) and approaches dynamic interaction on nature. The main features of the TOI with relation to the GST are:
- The GST focuses on systems as a whole, the TOI focuses on couples of systems interacting;
- The GST focuses on relations (stable repetitive interactions), while the TOI focuses on each interaction between systems;
- The GST, as well as mathematics, focuses on a static point of view of systems to understand the global functions; the TOI focuses the dynamics between two systems and the subtle benefits of minimal interactions.
- The GST focuses on the whole and relations (horizontal relations are those held with systems on the same scale of interaction). The TOI focuses on all partners in a fractal relation (vertical interactions), from the fundamental interactions at the quantum level to nature as a whole;
- The GST focuses observation on a snapshot of systems, to describe states; the TOI focuses the subjective timerow for each subsystem.
- The GST, as well as mathematics, focuses on isolated sets of independent and pure dimensions; the TOI approaches the huge natural dependent set of dimensions.
- The GST describes how does a system perform, the TOI describes why a system exists.
What is interaction?
Interaction is a natural mechanism of contents exchange between two entities. For example, two different cells can exchange fluids with some purpose. The TOI focuses on how does each cell obtains benefits from the interaction. This benefits are the essential resource for all natural systems to exist and persist to time and space. Interactions are present at all levels in nature: from fundamental particles to human organizations. Interaction follows the same rules at all levels.
What is a relation?
An interaction that causes negative effects for at least one entity will cause the entity to exert repulsion. But an interaction that is positive for at least one entity causes attraction. Attraction gives the possibility of repetition. An repetitive interaction is called a relation. Relations can be observed statically (tend to remain static with time), but interactions must be observed dynamically (the same molecular interaction can be negative seconds after the first).
What is the relation between interaction, chaos and order?
For two entities to interact, they require to acquire a dimensional disposition (for example, you and your partner, start an Internet chat application to exchange ideas). That is called order. When entities do not interact, entities are in chaos. Two atoms of hydrogen and an atom of oxygen are just three atoms in chaos. But when they get together and and start exerting fundamental interactions, they become a molecule, they are in order. The same thing happens in mathematics. Assume the speeds of two cars are x and y. There is chaos between x and y, both cars move independently. But if we say that x=1.1y, there is a clear order between the two cars: speeds are in order; relative positions can be calculated, so they are in order; accelerations also will have relations, therefore they are in order. On the contrary, if no more information is provided by the system of equations, absolute positions are still in chaos one from the other. An equation like a = 2b = 3c = 4d provides absolute order in 4 dimensions.
What is the relation between interaction and existence?
Order can be fleeting, it may not be permanent. When order persists along time, existence raises. The water molecule on the last example exists while the fundamental interaction between three atoms occurs. As the interaction has become repetitive -permanent-, it is a relation. Relations provide existence. As long as the interaction dissapears, order dissapears and some level of existence has dissapeared: the molecule. It no longer exists. It is the same in math: two independent variables are just that, but when there is an interaction between them, a new phase space exists.
This is ridiculous. I exist even when I don’t interact.
You exist because our internal systems interact in many different dimensions. If any internal interactions cease, something inside starts to dissipate and you get chaos. Losing a body cell is an infinitesimal chaos increase. But if you start to lose many cells, chaos grows and you risk of stop existing. Apparently we don’t interact, but we do, constantly, fractally, permanently, to exist. Just try to avoid breathing, talking with people, walking or disconnecting your liver. No, that’s a joke. Please do not try that.
What is dissipation?
Dissipation is a decrease in fractal size of interaction. If atoms of water are splitted, the molecule has dissipated, that means, has decreased one level in the fractal scale. Atoms still exist, but the molecule don’t. The opposite of dissipation is organization, it is increasing one step on the scale of fractal existence.
What is the purpose of interacting?
Living and non-living beings interact to exist. When you breathe, you get nutrients from the air, and you generate gases that benefit other entities on the environment. Basically all entities -or systems- in nature are just transformers: a tree can convert CO2 into O2. Mathematical systems are also transformers. x=2y can be used to convert x=2 to y=1.
What is the relation between interaction and the time row?
Mathematics permit a reflexive interaction on equations: x=2y can be used to convert x=2 to y=1 or y=2 to x=4. But in nature this is not possible: a cow cannot drink milk and excrete pasture. Natural interactions are sequential, which causes the time row to be a subjective assessment of the process of interaction.
What are dimensions in relation to interaction?
Dimensions are not only pure dimensions. Pure dimensions are essential in mathematics, but useless in nature. Dimensions can be a mix of pure and mixed dimensions, and this is what natural entities can approach. A straight line distance is OK in mathematics, but is not representative for an animal. Fish use creeks, rivers and temperatures to measure distances; bats use sounds.
In nature, some dimensions can contain others, so they are not pure. The value of a flower for a bee is a combination of multiple dimensions, including: the distance to it, the energy effort it requires to arrive, the nurturing benefits it provides, etc. Natural contents tend to be hyperdimensional. Mathematics tend to use small pure sets of dimensions.
Thermodynamics or Newton’s Laws -both are consequences of the principles of interaction- are examples of small use of dimensions. For example, a magnetic force over a metallic body causes an action and a reaction, and a consequent motion. Magnetic energy is converted to kinetic energy. In this case only one dimension is affected: energy.
But on systems of higher complexity, the transformation involves multiple dimensions. Photosynthesis is a common example of multidimensional transformation:
Sunlight + CO2 + H2O –> C6H12O6(glucose) + O2
Maybe you wonder why should we equalize energy and glucose, they seem to be completely different concepts and scales of existence. Right. They are different… in books! But in nature does not read books! Both are the same for nature. Either they can be processed by any entity or not. For example, all this molecules are just energy on the fundamental level. But it can’t be used as such. Living beings can’t exist with just energy converted to sunlight. They require glucose. Even if glucose is just some form of organized energy.