The soul of cellular automata
The CA is controlled by the following buttons:
Start: CA are planted.
Hide CA-1 Hide CA-2
Water: Trigger the system
This applet illustrates two philosophical concepts which are explained in the section on complexity: 1. CA time and 2. CA soul
The evolution of a CA is presented here in two time frames:
1. The CA consists of a single state (one vertical column) whose structure is determined uniquely by the previous state and depends on the entire CA history. Figuratively speaking, the past flows into the present which illustrates Bergson’s duration
2. The observer stores CA states and they are displayed chronologically.
Aristotle taught that plants and animals have a soul which controls their operation (metabolism) and is mortal. When the plant dies its soul dies with it. A seed is made of dormant and isolated processes which may be activated by the water. When the seed is watered, processes in the seed start interacting and the plant grows. As its structure emerges and becomes more and more complex, its controlling principle, or soul, emerges as well. The soul is not a separate entity but an outcome of process interaction.
The following experiment illustrates the emergence of a CA soul. Click on Start whereupon two zygotes are planted. They grow into two isolated CA. When you click on Water both CA start interacting and change their structure. Try clicking twice. Finally they will always settle at an attractor (create a solution) which stands for their adult configuration. You are unable to predict what the final attractor will be. Only the CA-soul knows it.