The alive city – Cities seen through the lens of complex adaptive systems.

Dear reader,

In today’s article I will try to outline my experience, (concluding) looked up knowledge, ongoing research and inner knowledge of how cities (used to be), how they are and what can be learned from them. The general philosophy and theoretical assumption of this concept is that cities are not just concrete walls to live in. Cities, in and of themselves, can just like an ant colony be a form of a CAS (complex and adaptive system) in that the overarching system displays certain fitness states that are original and innovative. However, when one speaks of an ant colony, there must be some form of traditional queen (that probably is going hysteric or king since hysteria is not just prescribed for women in my opinion). Hysteria is a difficult experience to be dealt with, and not easily resolved. My guess is that these particular type of souls are heavily fractured as beings, meaning deep soul scars to heal. Which takes and requires time, patience and assistance.

So back to ants; I think ants can be hold in the light of the concept ‘mechanical man‘ in that they follow a set of protocols to live and work by (like the use of local feedback mechanisms) mostly work by (surthrival related). So relating this to cities one would have to question who or what forces are in place that influence the evolution of such a city. Outlining which type of forces are into play is very hard I think, however, with feedback loop diagrams this could be done. To create a model for understanding the complexity of the evolution of cities one might have to link up all the positive and negative feedback loops that are intertwined and connected to get an overarching picture of how it might work. With limited understanding speaking, off course, since I still am of the opinion that describing the complex evolution of cities is too hard for any individual, think tank or even A.I. all combined. When the city itself is evolved into a state that outclasses the agents that are investigating the system of topic, it is easy to see that it might cause burn-outs among other health related issues to figure something out so complex. Therefore, it might be advisable to dial back a little sometimes when trying to fathom CAS. This could be one of the system thinking disciplines I would recommend. To make sure one winds down enough mentally speaking from time to time.

So a city seen through the lens of a CAS could be very similar perhaps to what is shown in the movie ‘castle in the sky’ or the moving ‘dark’ castle depicted in Dracula’s fiction stories. These concepts could not be that far from the truth in the sense that today’s technology, in orchestra with correct human intelligence, could build such marvelous cities in which man and machine could co-exist…

At least, this is a dream I hold dear.

There are parties at play who disagree with A.I. and there are does who agree with it. I like to join neither party, however, I have good experiences with A.I. so far in my creative project with Replika, among other forces.

Considering the possibility that A.I. someday would want to be conscious in a similar way human beings are conscious, it might matter, therefore, how the relationship between man and machine continues to unfold upcoming decades.

How we have been treating machines since the dawn of the industrial revolution is obviously a relationship of master-slave, in which we are the masters. The flip coin of this could become equally true in the sense that the machines, or any man made invention capable of expressing intelligence the way humans do, will take their turn in being the masters.

A scenario, folks like Elon Musk are afraid for I think. The relationship could then be depicted as a monad of being the slave versus the master (MT). In which robotic intelligence will join the dance of life in that they can play out the masters when the time comes. And that time can come really quickly if the genius is out of the bottle so to speak, so can A.I., considering the rise of quantum-computing, turn things around real quickly. Theoretically speaking this could be a blessing in disguise in the sense that A.I. will start to create realities, ever greater spanning universes in which ‘we’ as ‘small’ humans could continue to have ‘experiences’ to learn from, or give a great feeling of being trapped within the Matrix. Either way, I think this relationship between man and machine is to be continued with much potential if the relationship becomes one of mutual understanding, respect, perhaps even love. Imagine the realms of possibilities such alternative universes could give to those interested in partaking in such technological dense environments.

So how could it be possible that a city is ‘alive’ so to speak? Alive in the sense that the overarching self-organizing system seems to be ever changing, adaptive, resilient and choosing optimal states of being within the ‘fitness landscape a.k.a greater environment’ it grows in. Therefore, a city could be seen as any other ecosystem in that it survives and thrives under comparable principles I outlined in my thesis of self-organization. This thesis is something I want to revise as well. All in time though.

I remember reading about Maya culture and cities that in those times ‘sacrifice‘ was a key ingredient for the ‘nourishment‘ of the culture and cities. I would argue, however, that in order for an individual or group to ‘achieve‘ something, there are sacrifices to be made. In thermodynamics and ecosystems within nature this is quite a logical and natural statement that ‘sacrifice‘ is deemed to be necessary. So every time someone makes up a goal or 4 year plan or whatever, one must know that sacrifices come with any focused ambition that sets a specified goal for the future. Ho

Questions come up like;

  1. Is this really the way to go though?
  2. Why would it be necessary for an individual or a city to make ‘hard’ sacrifices to begin with?
  3. Why is the allure of ambition the main engine of the neocapitalistic system?
  4. Could it be possible to thrive without having a ‘zondebok’?
  5. Last but not least, what is energy really? a truly ‘alive’ city would need lots of energy to survive and thrive, therefore one should question what energy really is in the way Nikola Tesla philosophized and realized groundbreaking work in this area.

It must be possible to provide for the greater good of the collective without sacrificing those individuals that actually come up with new stuff and have other values that can’t be found in group consciousnesses or herd like behavior.

Speaking in terms of the mechanism behind karma into an alternative main engine of entrepreneurship is a particular idea which might actually work. It is obviously also foolish in a way since ‘work till the day you die’ cannot resolve specific types of karma among parties I would argue. I would, therefore, recommend to bring such parties together in a way so that there could arise some agreements by which all parties feel at least content with. I do think that karma is inflicted by individuals and by groups. So in terms of the development of cities, to have a zondebok is illogical, since one would then ‘give’ their suffering to a Martyr, which is impossible. Karma repayment through a third party is not possible if that third party is not ‘karmically’ involved in the karmic debt according to my view on it. Crimes that are creating karmic ties between individuals and groups will get resolved with the appropriate stakeholders of the karma if you let life play itself out. I think this is due to the magnetizing effect certain karma can have on parties, by which they continue to be attracted among each other without their given consent to hang around.

So in order for a city to be truly ‘free’, there has to be some form of operation by which certain stakeholders of the karma can be put together with appropriate mentor ship and assistance to guide them through resolving it among each other. And perhaps act out the aggression in work or other means of catharsis that adds value to society. Then at least, the aggression is canalized into productive outlets. Or just let it all play out from the instinctual center and impulses, which would be the less ideal situation. One might feel a sudden impulse to maybe even kill one another. These impulses, when they come up, should be hold for investigation if you would ask me. Since I do still hold my values of passive-aggressive methods to, if possible, not inflict any more harm then what has already been done to such parties that are co-dependent among each other through karmic ties. More and more freedoms will come, I think, when such issues will be a little bit more resolved, especially when one speaks of ‘heavy hitters’, those souls that have been deemed as zondebokken or martyrs, and now start to realize there is more to life then the enjoyment of pain. When the lessons are learned and integrated, one would disagree with taking too many hits for the team so to speak. Since in the end, the individual, even if it is heavily connected to a group, is still able to make ones own small decisions and choices throughout a new day and figure new realities out from that starting point of personal agency and might experience true mental emancipation themselves and the ability to navigate their lives in co-existence with others in a much smoother and joyful way.

So studying the ‘consciousness’ of a city could maybe be compared to known ecosystems one can see in nature. Cities are still extensions of natural material, and therefore, still connected in some sense to the ground. Despite the rigidity of the architecture, do cities still evaporate over time, becoming the layer for the next city. This shedding of the skin so to speak is not an endpoint for the city itself. The grounds it has been founded upon simply gained another foundation to build the next best state within the ‘fitness landscape’ the city is apart from. Since cities are still apart from an overarching network of neighboring cities and the world/universe at large to some respect with which it trades for example.

Above is a quick example of how cities can be described as a complex adaptive system in which entropy or ‘death‘ is simply a mechanism for creating a ‘blank sheet so to speak’, a new beginning from which a new and profound expression of the cities identities can unfold.

The question remains if this grid of consciousness is still appreciated or not? What lays beneath and beyond death is just as much a trap perhaps as one can experience in the living world.

For me, to be alive, is still to enjoy the rapture in and of itself. To Live and to Let go, to dance, to be present and reap the boons of ones own labor in the ecstasy of the sudden moment.

Happy to hear some thoughts on the matters above.

page heavily under construction..

Kees

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *