Chapter 18 Awareness and consciousness

18.1 Cooperating elements.

Imagine two persons moving a heavy cupboard. By means of signs, cries and feeling they make sure their actions are well coordinated. This is of course only possible when each person is aware of the other and of the fact that they are cooperating to perform the task.
Cooperation of two elements requires that each element has an internal model of the other and has a model of the cooperation they form at that instant. By means of sensing and extensive communication, the two models of the cooperation are kept synchronized and each element can plan its own detailed actions using its internal model.
While the two persons are moving the cupboard, it seems that the two persons are acting as one entity. When one person is passing a door and takes care not to squeeze his fingers, the other slows down and acts more carefully too.
A cooperation forms an entity. When something happens to one element, it affects immediately the others. The awareness of the cooperation is based upon the synchronized awareness of the cooperation in the elements.

18.2 Awareness of an organism.

More permanent cooperations of elements allow for the elements to specialize themselves in particular functions while counting on the others for the rest. The smooth functioning of the organism requires that every element of the organism has an internal model of the organism as an entity. This does not mean that each element has a model of the whole organization with all the details. The amount of details in the model of one element is related to the particular task it has in the organism (specialization).

In fact there is nowhere a single model of the organization containing all the details. The organization as an entity uses the combined effect of all the synchronized models (remember coherent thought field, chapter 13).

Each of the elements has a limited awareness of the organization it belongs too. The awareness of the organization itself is the result of the synchronized awareness of the organization of the elements.

A well organized company is an organism. All employees act following their own internal model of the company. Communication synchronizes the models of the company inside the employees. When communication ceases, each person can go on acting for a while in correspondence with his or her internal model of the company. Meetings are organized to synchronize the models by forming coherent thought fields. This joining of several models is necessary to make decisions because none of the individual models contains sufficient details to make overall decisions.

18.3 Grasping awareness.

Awareness is a distributed feature. In an organism, there is not a single part or organ responsible for awareness, all parts contribute to it. This makes awareness intangible.

Because awareness is an externalizing feature, this remark applies to the elements of the organism too. First we discover that awareness is not localized in one part but distributed over all parts, then we have a closer look to the contributing part of awareness inside one element and find the same problem, the contributing part is not localized but distributed over all components of the element, and this goes on for many layers. This makes awareness seem a ghostly business. Still it can be studied.

18.4 Externalizing awareness.

To have a more detailed image of awareness, we will follow the externalization of awareness over one externalization cycle. In the first stages, where the new organization is not yet formed, we suppose already an awareness of the element. This is the very principle of externalization.

18.5 Preliminary stage.

Imagine information elements which have become aware of their environment and of themselves. Because they are not yet aware of each other, they cannot form an organization yet.

18.6 Elements become aware of each other.

Elements having developed a model of the environment. Because they interact with the same environment they will discover the existence of each other.

The internal model of the environment of an element is used to anticipate the outcome of the actions of the element. These actions are basically gaining energy by causing some transformations in the environment (eating). When two elements are close to each other, they can both attempt to release energy from the same structure. One of them at least will be surprised, it finds the food (energy source), attempts to grasp it, sees the usual change of the information, but does not feel the energy (no joy)!

Because competition for environmental elements is the first point of encounter between elements, the first direct interaction is competition (or plain individual war).

A young company finds a nice market niche and develops a new product for this niche. When selling the new product, it gains energy and is very happy. One day, it finds a potential customer who needs the product but before the company can sell, a competitor has sold a similar product. The company discovers the existence of competitors.

18.7 Developing internal model of the other.

The intense interactions during a long period of competition (war) between individual elements causes the development of an extensive internal model of the "other" in each element. Although this competition seems not so nice, it allows the development of a model of the interaction which is the base for all further interactions. Skipping this phase would cause problems in a later stage.

This model allows one element to anticipate accurately the reaction of the other upon the own actions (very useful in times of war).

Once discovered the existence of competitors, the company will try to know all about them before developing a new product to avoid surprises. The company develops a model of the competitors to be able to find ways around the disturbing effect of competitors.

18.8 Taking advantage.

The more developed elements become able to anticipate the reaction of another element on the own actions. In particular situations, the reaction of the other element can be useful for the own benefit. The following step is to setup such situations to provoke a useful reaction of the other element. The more developed element becomes able to manipulate less developed elements.

To avoid that the less developed element becomes soon aware of being used, the situation is set up in a way that the ignorant element has still a small gain of energy. A loss of energy would soon inhibit a repetition of the same reaction.

This is an early stage of organization. The two elements perform some coordinated actions (at this stage coordinated by the more advanced element). The coordinated actions can only be maintained or repeated when both elements have a gain of energy which is larger than when operating individually.

In society, people with a less developed awareness are often manipulated by people with a broader awareness.
In all developing countries, we see that the first forms of organization is very authoritative. Strong people manipulate the weaker. Because western society has (almost) just left this stage, we look down to it with contempt. Still, this form of early organization can only be maintained when the used elements do gain also something from the cooperation and is a necessary intermediate stage.

18.9 Equalization of awareness.

The awareness attained by the leaders becomes gradually attained by most elements. When the awareness of the elements increases, the intentions of the leaders become clear and the used elements do not want to be used any more unless they receive a larger share of the benefit. As long the awareness of the leaders is more advanced than the awareness of the other elements, the leaders can make their form of manipulation more sophisticated to make it invisible again.
In society, this is the transition from authoritative organizations (governments) to more democratic forms.

18.10 Awareness of an organism.

The awareness of the organization as a whole is at first largely based on the model of the organization in the leading element.

As the awareness of all elements develops, each element develops a model of the organization and uses this model to determine its own actions. Sensing and communication is used keep all these models synchronized (remember fields of synchronized thoughts).

The early form of manipulation by simulating some environmental conditions (donkey guided by a rape), is replaced by mutual interactions causing some conditioning of the internal models of the organization.

18.11 From hierarchical to service model.

The equalization of the awareness of all elements causes a change in the structure of the organization. The hierarchical organization is replaced by an organization in which there is a complete awareness in all elements and all elements cooperate because they know that the combined effort is more beneficial than the sum of the individual actions. Every element can only remain convinced of this when there is a fair rewarding system.

Elements in this organization are performing services for the others (for the organism). The reward for the service is related to the appreciation of the service by the others.

In a well developed company, every employee has an internal model of the company as a whole. This does not mean that every employee has the same model in his mind. Every employee has extended a part of the company in this area where he or she is specialized. The own specialized function in the company is integrated in this model. When the company acts as a whole, it is because all these models are well synchronized. Remark that no one has a complete model with all the details in itself.
This service model is an extreme situation which is never reached. Long before it is reached, the information will be externalized and attempts to gain experience will go on at this newer externalization level. Still it is useful to consider the service model as a point towards the cooperation of elements evolves when only considering a small part. To see the evolution at a larger scale, the consecutive externalizations must be considered.

18.12 Remaining hierarchy.

The service model of organization does not mean that every element can suddenly interfere with any subject. On the contrary, specialization increases rapidly in a stable organism. Some elements specialize in very particular external functions and other elements specialize in coordinating functions. The coordinating function (managing) is also considered as a service in this model. The coordinating element tells in advance to the elements what is supposed to come up soon. In this way the elements can prepare themselves. When this turns out to be true, the detailed element appreciates the early warning. This appreciation is the base for the rewarding for the service of the coordinating element.

There is a loose hierarchy of such coordinating elements. The hierarchy is not so different from the hierarchy existing in earlier phases but the decision process is more distributed.

18.13 Parasites.

Because energy is gained in large quantities by a cooperation of specialized elements, there must be a well developed appreciation and rewarding system to distribute the gained energy to the elements contributing to the welfare of the organization.

Such selective distribution system is not developed overnight. Before it is stable, the large amounts of not too well managed energy attracts all kinds of parasites. Parasites can only maintain their position as long they escape from the awareness of the organization. Therefore more sophisticated forms develop when the awareness of the organism grows.

The experience resulting from this struggle against parasites is responsible for the development of a stable internal rewarding system. All abstracted experience of this phase becomes integrated in the stable organization.

Crime in society is a phase which is necessary and useful to gain particular experience which will be integrated later in stable regulation mechanisms. On long term, crime can only be expelled by understanding the mechanisms of it and integrating this knowledge in all elements of society.

18.14 Economy.

Well developed organisms work in a completely distributed way. All elements contribute to the welfare of the organism and expect a share of the gained energy as a reward in correspondence with the value of their contribution. This requires an appreciation system in which the result of the action of each element is evaluated by all elements using this particular result.

This regulating system results from the experience gained from the phase before in which all kinds of parasites tried to fool the regulation system.

Even in such stable organisms such as our body, it happens that parasite structures grow.

To propagate, an organism allows for an element to insulate itself and gather energy to start developing a new organization. This possibility can be misused by other structures also insulating themselves form the rest of the organism while receiving energy from the organism. When cancer grows, it fools probably the rest of the body by telling it it is using the energy to develop offspring, by this it receives plenty of energy for free.
Cell division:

Elements performing a useful task receive a lot of energy. When this leads to an excess of energy, they multiply. This is the second reason to cause a new externalization described in chapter 16). The excess of energy related to a rewarding system is the base for the propagation of cells in a multicellular body. This propagation is using the same instantiation and is seen as cell division (one cells splits into two identical cells).

18.15 Older and newer externalizations.

New externalizations have advantage over older externalizations because they have more abstract experience. They are better adaptable to different conditions. By this, they have a more profound insight in the situation and can "see" the origin of the restrictions of the older beings. This knowledge can be used to overcome some of the difficulties by organizing older elements in a way that restrictions are neutralized.

Because the new externalizations are related with the previous externalizations, they are able to interact with them. When they cooperate with older elements to form an organization, they are able to impose their will on the others without force. Although this is a form of manipulation, it is experienced by the other elements as "good leadership".

The newer elements express themselves in organizations mainly constituted out of indurated older elements. The newer element makes the older elements cooperate to form an externalization of the newer elements.

18.16 Breeding grounds.

When elements of different externalization origin cooperate, the larger abstract experience and the larger flexibility of the newer externalization will cause the fact that the newer element manages the coordination.

The new externalizations gain control quickly and do not have to go through the long induration phase of elements before gaining experience with several levels of externalization. They use the older externalization as breeding ground to gain experience.

18.17 Inhabitant.

When an element in an organization has a much broader awareness than the other elements, the entire organism acts as an expression of the single, more recently externalized being. Because this newer information being is less indurated, it uses its insight, its cleverness rather than its brute force to control the organism. It seems like a ghost inhabiting the organism.

18.18 Soft information controlling an organism.

The young externalizations governing the older structures are less indurated than the older structures. They are softer than the elements of the used breeding ground.

When observing the organization at work, this managing information is not visible. All elements seem to work in a well coordinated way. Having a closer look, the communication between the elements becomes visible. However, this is only the communication responsible for the synchronization of the models (awareness). Only by very deep investigation, the effect of the controlling, newer externalization becomes visible.

The importance of this controlling information becomes apparent when the controlling information being abandons the organism. After this, all elements go on with their work, at first nothing seems to be different. Even the coordination and communication between the elements goes on, but the coordination is more restricted and the regulation of the activity becomes less efficient. Finally the organization cannot longer work.

Imagine a large, modern factory in a developing country. All labor is done by native people, only the management is guided by experienced western managers. One day, the western managers withdraw, all activity goes on, nothing is changed in the factory, all workers are continuing their job and at first the production goes on as before. As soon some unexpected situations occur, some management skills are required. When these skills are not available, the whole mechanism of the production in the factory will soon be disorganized and the production will cease. Although nothing has changed in the material situation (the factory, the workers), the organization cannot longer operate.
When an animal or a human being looses consciousness, something similar appears. The entire material structure seems to be still there, even the communication between the parts is still going on (nerves) but the quality of the coordination is reduced.

18.19 Distributed awareness.

In a fully developed organization, the awareness of the organization is constituted out of the well synchronized collection of all the models (awareness) of the organization in the elements of the organization.

Because the elements communicate between each other as thought centers, not all of them are involved in the same way in all decisions. They join and leave the coherent thought fields depending on what they can contribute (using their internal details) to what is going on.

18.20 Coherent thought fields.

Thoughts going on in elements of an organization belonging to coherent thought fields take the knowledge and internal states into account of all the elements joining the field at this moment. In other words, the thoughts are aware of all what is going on in this set of elements.
In a good meeting in a company, the thoughts developed in the meeting are taking all the experience of the members into account. This will make the company as a whole acting in a way aware of all this knowledge.
When an element detects that it cannot longer contribute to the ongoing thoughts, it insulates itself (gradually) from the coherent field. The activity in such element will gradually slow down after this (unless it joins again).
When the subject in the meeting shifts from production planning to marketing issues, the contribution of the production department in the meeting will be reduced.
When the flow of thoughts shifts from one area to another, elements in the areas from where the attention is shifted away can still maintain thoughts which are synchronized within the area but not longer with the original coherent field. By this, several coherent fields can exist simultaneously.
Imagine a meeting of all the employees of a company. Several items are discussed. When the quality of the products is discussed, the engineering and production departments contribute largely to the flow of the discussion. After this, the subject shifts to the promotion campaign for a new product, the thoughts in the production and engineering elements will detach form the main subject. While the promotion campaign is discussed, the production and engineering departments go on discussing about the quality of the products.
As the subject shifts back to the original subject, the fields can join again and the original field can take advantage of the thoughts developed while the fields where separated.

18.21 Consciousness.

Remember how a newer externalization can govern an organism. Such information being coordinates the thoughts in a coherent thought field. This field of thoughts is called the conscious thought field. By joining the conscious field with other coherent fields from time to time, the activity in the other coherent fields becomes also controlled by the single conscious field.

When the new externalization responsible for the conscious field abandons for some reason, the organism looses consciousness and the activity is reduced to the activity of an older form (still full of elements conditioned by the conscious field).

18.22 Gaining control over new externalization.

When the controlling information is insulated (leaving a an externalization unconscious), it can decide to maintain the insulation and prepare for a new externalization. This new externalization starts by gaining control over an older, more dense material structure. This gaining of control is easiest on the point where the older structure is about to externalize (propagate).
A manager which has resigned and seeks to control another company will be able to express itself more profoundly when he can gain control over a developing company in the very early stage of development.

18.23 Moving versus copying.

Remember the remark on "moving versus copying" in chapter 10 on information and matter. In relation to the managing information, we could wonder why the controlling information is often moved rather than copied. This is probably because the carrier for this newer form of externalization is not abundantly available and the amount of abstract experience carried by this soft information structure is much larger than its weight suggests.

18.24 Conscious and unconscious thoughts.

Thoughts developing in the conscious field are conscious thoughts. Detached coherent thought fields are unconscious thoughts. The fact of being detached from the conscious field does not necessary mean that the quality of the thoughts is much lower. Unconscious thoughts are highly influenced by the suggestions (conditioning) of the different thought centers created while being part of the conscious field.

18.25 Boundaries of consciousness.

The organism extends as far the elements act in a coordinated way. The boundaries of the organism are therefore determined by the boundaries of the organism in the internal model of the organism of the elements. In steady conditions, elements are able to act in correspondence with the organism even without communication with the other elements (using only the internal model). When conditions change rapidly, intensive communication between the elements is required to synchronize the models and by this coordinate the actions. Because the fields of coherent thoughts does normally not cover all the elements, only the status known by the elements joining the conscious field will be taken into account. The boundaries of coordinated elements and in some way the boundaries of the organism will vary following the movements of this field.

18.26 Extension of the awareness.

Up to now, we have considered the development of the awareness inside a developing organism. Once an organism reaches some degree of stability, the coordination of the actions will not limit itself to these boundaries. Events happening in the environment of the organization will be taken into account inside the organism. This makes it possible for the organism to adapt its actions to the external conditions. This is the development of senses and a model of the external world. This extends the awareness to the environment. The organization will discover the existence of other organizations similar to it, compete them, use them, cooperate with them and form an organization with them. Each of these stages extends the awareness until the awareness becomes part of the awareness of a larger organism (externalization of awareness).

This externalization goes on until it blocks by limitations imposed by earlier phases. This stagnation is the triggering force for propagation at a deeper level. (see consecutive manifestations in chapter 17). Because only the softer, managing information will understand the origin of the limitations, the inhabiting newer information will start a new externalization while leaving the structured breeding ground uncontrolled (withdraw of inhabiting, controlling information).

More in next chapter on Individuality and will
This is Chapter 18; Awareness and consciousness of Behavior of Information
Author: Luc Claeys. All comments welcome, mail to [email protected]
Last updated on Jan 24, 1996