Metasystem Transitions

Now consider a system S that might synthesize cuticle on all surfaces of a bee simultaneously. In different locations on the body, cookie-cuttered copies of this synthetic machinery exist with a few local variants to specify different densities and thicknesses of cuticle. These patches of cuticle-manufacturing machinery unite into a new system having the S-type cuticle producing systems as its controlled subsystems. We posit a controller for the behavior and production of our subsystems. S; is now a metasystem with respect to S, and to create S; we perform a metasystem transition.

By creating a series of metasystem transitions, bees may construct a multileveled control system increasing the complexity of control at each level. Each metasystem transition produces a higher level of organization, the metalevel, in relation to the level of organization of the subsystems. In the most general terms, a single relatively autonomous system that produces cuticle integrates itself into a larger web of systems that control it. Similar to the cell-organism analogy, in progressing from fertilized egg to embryo to adult, primary control gradually shifts from a cell to the organism.

The classical example of transition to a metasystem would be the development of a bee. S is an egg cell, surviving initially on its own. Following divisions, cells aggregate together to create a larva, an entirely new entity. Initially control entails holding daughter cells together, but following successive metasystem transitions, as cells integrate into tissues, tissues into organs, organs into an adult, subsystems specialize to create a multileveled interwoven hierarchy of structures and functions, all controlled by overarching humoral, endocrine, tracheal and nervous systems.

To create a metasystem, we first duplicate a subsystem and establish control over its multiple copies. The original system S is the scope of the metasystem transition, and the number of integrated systems within S is the scale of the metasystem. The minimal scale of a metasystem transition or MST is one. In a control system with many levels, each level associates with functions characteristic for its level. Each time we make a metasystem transition, we generate a new 'super' level of control. If A is activity at the top level, then each new metasystem transition, creates an additional new level of control, A'. A' controls what the A level does.

0 0

Post a comment