Physics is a science based on observation and experiment. From such data, it attempts to arrive at a set of principles adequate to recognize, describe, and relate all phenomena. Specifically, it attempts to deal with equilibria, with and without movement, and change in all material-energetic systems. Current comprehension identifies a nested — hierarchical — structure of a cosmos, nesting galaxies involving a richness of intragalactic structures; continuing below, one finds molecules, atoms, nuclei, and fundamental particles, and an end in a rich complex vacuum below.
It has long been surmised that such nesting can be identified as an alternation of systems and their lower level; a level consisting of components that are more atomistic-like. Thus, associations of atomisms and collectives is an apt description. An earlier age was able to identify a concept of turtles all the way down, or sphere within sphere in a geometry of nested forms.
Normal physics deals with processes at single levels — cosmological physics, stellar physics, and the like — and also with the relation between systems and their lower levels, but only when the lower level atomisms are simple enough.
At some levels, systems are found involving very extended time scales among their atomistic processes. It is such levels that we consider to be complex in nature. They have extensive field memory functions; they use languages; they appear to direct their activities almost with purpose. We do not accept any mystification of their internal actions. We prefer to consider their interiors to be complex factories, and to involve complex factory day processes.
As a catch phrase, we refer to these systems as nature, life, humankind, mind, and society. Thus biophysics, geophysics, social physics, ecological physics, evolutionary physics, and the like. In common with their simpler counterparts, complex systems exhibit rest phases, smooth or creeping flows, turbulence, and chaotic phases; they alternate in storminess and placidity, and in their intermittence and changeability. It is the hierarchical character of such systems, with both side-side and in-out component processes, that interest us.
If anyone thinks that complex systems can easily be explained simply or simplistically, they are mistaken. Some period between 2,500 and 10,000 to 40,000 years of human thought have demonstrated that not to be true. So, join us in our venture, if you will, but be forewarned.
Homeokinetics is the study of complex systems, systems such as universes, galaxies, social systems, or various planetary subsystems. The entire universe thus consists of atomistic-like units – “atomisms” – bound in interactive ensembles to form systems, level by level in a nested hierarchy of systems. A system is a group of relatively common ‘atomisms’ organized into a high ordered ‘atomism’ bounded from above and below in the space and time domain. A person is a system, bounded in time and space from above and below. Skin is the border, separating the inside from the outside. The person’s life is bounded in time from birth to death. When the person gets into a car, the person and the car become another system. The car joins other cars and forms another system called traffic. The flow of cars in a traffic system is much like the flowing of blood cells through our veins. Cars lose their autonomy in traffic and become part of a greater whole, just as blood cells do in our blood.
Within the system, atomisms, as actors, are moving. Whatever the level, whether the actors are people, cars, cells, or planets, they move. Early beliefs held that the movement of the actors was generated by a ‘spirit’, or ‘anima‘. Actually, the creation of the action by the actor is done by the internal forces acting on or within the actor. There are ultimately very few forces or agents causing this. In fact, there are only four known forces: gravitational, electrical, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear forces. People walk due to small electrical signals from the brain telling their leg muscles to contract. This throws them off balance and gravity takes over pulling them forward. An automobile has an internal combustion engine, which is driven by an electric spark that creates an explosion in the cylinder. That chemistry in the engine itself also has an electrical foundation. The resulting movement of the piston in the cylinder is translated into rotary movement of the wheels, driving the car forward. Inside the human body, heart muscles contract as a result of an electrical signal from the autonomic nervous system. Movement of blood is created by the pumping action of the heart.
When the actors move, they interact with other actors. Like actors performing on a stage, people conversing in a car, blood cells coursing through veins, planets orbiting around a sun, interactions occur. Two people see each other in bar, walk over to each other, talk, and then perhaps dance together. Two cars avoid a collision by veering away from each other. Two blood cells bump into each other as they travel through a small capillary. The actors are engaging in a game. This game, within any system, may be called ‘Banging into Each Other by Pairs’. The agents (forces) guarantee that the actors will bang into each other. A few major things are conserved during this game. The sum of the paired mass (or matter) is conserved, the sum of energy is conserved, the sum of momentum (or movement) is conserved, and the sum of the electric charge is conserved. Flip a coin, for example. You and the coin exchange. The coin goes upward due to the momentum imparted to the coin by your thumb. Gravity pulls the coin back down in an exchange with the Earth. When a ball is thrown against a wall, momentum drives it towards the wall, which imparts motion to it in the opposite direction. Neither momentum nor matter is lost.
To describe the behavior of a system, then, one looks at how the flow of matter, energy, momentum, and electric charge spread out in this game that the actors within the system are playing. The purpose of the action is to tell the story of the collective. For a group of molecules in a balloon, the story of the collective may be to ‘form a gas’. As a result of playing the game, by the sharing of motion through their conservations, they all achieve the same temperature, or essentially the same energy. Now, if you want to face them, you will have to face them as a collective. You are no longer dealing with single atomisms. How can one know that? Somebody can aim that balloon at someone else and blow them away. That simple interactive motion creates the collective’s characteristics. At a collective level, the story of the collective force is the social pressure. One can tell a human army, a gang, or a group to ‘go kill’ or ‘go build a nation’ and the bunch will walk out together and act no longer as individuals, but as a collective.
A complex system is one where there is a tremendous amount of internal exchange by the actors. The physics of complex systems is played out on the basis of trying to understand what these complex internal agents are doing. Ordinary physics is a flatland physics, a physics at some particular level. Examples include nuclear and atomic physics, biophysics, social physics, and stellar physics. Homeokinetic physics combines flatland physics with the study of the up down processes that binds the levels. Tools, such as mechanics, quantum field theory, and the laws of thermodynamics, provide key relationships for the binding of the levels, how they connect, and how the energy flows up and down. And whether the atomisms are atoms, molecules, cells, people, stars, galaxies, or universes, the same tools can be used to understand them. Homeokinetics treats all complex systems on an equal footing, animate and inanimate, providing them with a common viewpoint. The complexity in studying how they work is reduced by the emergence of common languages in all complex systems.