information inertia

some musette de cour from the eighteenth century. it might seem impossible, but the drones are over 2 meters long: their length is folded into that seemingly tiny drone sticking out (much like modern shuttle pipes).

we’re slowly broadening our sights, and abandoning the tenuous details of the small things and moved on to bigger things. by now if you accepted my premises, we can begin to see a landscape where minds are not only available for human beings, but also to all kinds of matter in motion: molecules, cells, organisms, animals, plants, individuals and collectives. it might not seem clear at first, but this idea of mind includes and predicts that two individual minds can be seen, when communicating between themselves, as a bigger mind with a bigger mindspace than each of the individual ones. obviously, it’s not this simple as we saw before, but it’s interesting to see it this way. minds are arbitrary boundaries around moving information.

think about a simple every day item, like a cellphone. it is impossible for a single human being to fully understand how it is done and built. if we analyze this problem using the tools of the model i provided, we would see that the information required to build a cellphone is bigger than the capacity of a single mind, but not of a collective mind with enough abstractions. this means that certain material endeavors are impossible for the individual to understand, but possible for a collective to understand. we will dive into collectives soon.

but before we discuss collective information, i’d like to describe the principle of information inertia. if we accepted the principles that information is the specific physical arrangement of things, it is natural to imagine that to change this arrangement we must do work. the bigger the change, the bigger the amount of work. this means that if a specific arrangement exists, it will tend to stay that way. it also means that if an arrangement can transmit its information to another arrangement, the minimum amount of change possible is a copy of itself. from this follows that if we follow the principle of minimum energy, we also follow the principle of least originality. everything about basic thermodynamics says that complexity shouldn’t exist, and whenever it does, it will tend to preserve its structure versus complicating itself.

it is no surprise, therefore, that in this framework, we can extract the understanding of why things copy themselves (genes, cells, animals, ideas) in a way that tends to preserve their own information. it is not that they have a natural selfish tendency. in my opinion, it is simply that the laws of nature are rigged to make originality very hard, and laziness very easy. the laziest activity for a replicator is to replicate itself. to evolve will only happen under pressure to do so, otherwise, the tendency will be to stabilize. note that i extracted this only from the initial premises. with it, we can see evolution and reproduction in a simpler, more general light. there is no need to define what a thing is to obtain these predictions. that evolution will happen at every level where information is exchanged, and that it will happen against a natural tendency to inertia. i suspect that laws like the laws of genetics, memetics and so on will keep popping up in odd fields where this wouldn’t be expected, and that this pattern will be referred with a new word, but will be essentially the same process: the information inertia guaranteeing the replication, and the non random possible distribution of information in our world as the non random selection.

i won’t dig deeper since this seems like a concept that is simple enough as it is. it predicts that it is more likely to see a copy than a difference, the principle of least surprise. this hints at the idea that surprises are valuable events in nature, and in essence, against its very basic rules (though they allow for them).