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Jason Hu’s Paper Proposal

Multi-level Self-Organizations in Human Interactions

Multi-level Self-Organizations in Human Interactions
For ASC 2013 Conference in Bolton, UK

Jason Jixuan Hu, Ph.D.
Managing Director


First a general formula is proposed to represent self-organization processes as identified by Ashby, von Foerster, Prigogine etc., i.e. R=Ǒ[M], or Results=Ǒ[Mechanism], in which Latin capital O with Caron is used to represent the general self-organization process. The letter “O” visually symbolizes a closed loop of causality in focus. The bud-looking “Caron” visually symbolizes something grows from that circular causality and sustained by this causality loop, i.e. emergence. The formula offers a convenient way to identify, discuss and compare different types of self-organization processes in various fields of study and disciplines.

Second, an attempt is made to identify a multi-layer of self-organization processes in reaction chains of human behaviors from very local to very global – from the cognitive process of individual brain, to the interactions among brains that form families and societies, all the way to the interactions of different societies leading to a global organizational eigen-result for the whole planet. A grand perspective is offered following footsteps of Ashby and HVF. This multi-layer frame need to be refined and expanded through the discussions with colleagues during this conference. A clear understanding of the relationships of these specific self-organizing processes, going on at levels of individual, family, state, and global, might improve our understanding of these processes as well as provide guidance in personal development, organizational development, and international relations.


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  1. The first idea that comes to my mind is, if it is possible to apply the scheme to the conversations and group interactions at the conference, and how they develop over time?

  2. First, and in no trivialising sense, I like the wry graphic symbolism you point to. A very nice, deft touch!

    It seems to me that you are proposing a sort of hierarchy of assembly of self-organising systems into further self-organising systems: another example of what, I think, is called self-similarity. There have been several attempts to make such hierachies, and I look forward to learning how you argue for yours. I have to say I understand hierarchy as a construction: it does not exist in whatever may be “out there”, but in our way of assembling our experience (of this).

    Finally, what is HVF? Well, I know, but it’s probably a good idea not to use such in house abbreviations: our audience is broad and may not know the familiar abbreviation! (For anyone who doesn’t know, it’s Heinz von Foerster, not High Value Food!).

  3. How did you come up with 12 self-organization processors? Has this changed as your thinking evolved or were you always certain on 12? How do you deal with overlap? I would like to see your table!

  4. hi guys! yes HVF is High Value Food! for many years I’m still digesting… :-) sorry the 12-loop table is not working yet, but I put in 6 for now. The space of the abstract does not allow it, so I’m email the draft paper to you guys soon!
    looking forward to my learning from you.

  5. Hi Ranulph, could you please pass the reference for other attempts of hierarchies you mentioned? my purpose is not to establish an “out there”, but to identify a relationship that “without X in place for sufficient time, Y cannot emerge…”

  6. I think you may be asking about self-similarity. I imagine, however, that you are entirely familiar with it.

    One example is the Mandelbrot set. You’ve seen it printed out. At every level, the organisation that generates the shapes is the same: each shape is made up of smaller elements that are the same shape, and each shape goes together with others that make up the same shape. You can see a dynamic version here (but turn down the rather awful sound)

    Self-similarity was of interest not only in fractals. I believe the Artificial Lifer are interested, and for instance John Frazer was interested in this in computer aided design.

    My interpretation of Margaret Mead’s request that cybernetic organisations are subject to cybernetic consideration is also, I believe, of this time. I refer to this as consistency. It’s recursion, perhaps, maybe an eigen form.

    I hope this helps.

  7. Ranulph, No I don’t mean self-similarity, although the isomorphic patterns can be identified on different layers – or levels, I’m not sure which word capture that essence better – of the multi-layer self-organization processes. The key I hope to get a hold on is that, a high level self-organization can happen only if its lower level self organization process has been done well – this means, in order for a true constitutional government, or an “inclusive institution” can emerge, through interactions of the specific group of people involved, the must be a set of “unchanging principles” in place. This is related highly to the current chaotic debates inside China, as the new leadership coming into power in just half a year, his actions so far have caused huge uncertainty about where China is going.

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