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Dynamics of structurefulness (review of the treatise)

Alexander BYSTROW

Dynamics of structurefulness is the exact translation from Russian which means, in less exact terms, complexity trends in material reality.

We differentiate between two kinds of complexity: the complexity of coherent order, structure (in other words structurefulness denoted by s' where s denotes structure); and the complexity of chaos. The former is addressed, the latter is ignored.

The regulated complexity, s', can be analyzed in mathematical terms and can be calculated. Some ways of doing this are considered.

Material reality is reduced to the processes of structuring and destructuring, that is form -gaining, -maintaining and -losing, in which the complexity of order may grow, fall or remain the same.

This general approach covers a very wide range of global phenomena and problems – from inorganic and bio-evolution, techno- and culture-geneses up to sense of history and personal existence. It inevitably leads to ethical and ecological applications and enables the development of objective criteria for social progress and morals.

Being well linked to science, science-like and favouring formalization, this direction may be regarded as a kind of positive philosophy.

A little more detail is provided -

Supported by the diverse data of natural sciences, a detailed classification of types of dynamics of s' is offered. In particular it includes:

1) vertical (or intensive) structuring: Δs > 0 (meaning structures alter, new ones arise) and Δs' > 0 (they become more complex),

2) horizontal (extensive) structuring: Δs > 0 and Δs' = 0 (the changes flow within the same level of complexity),

3) multiplicative structuring: Δs = 0 (the same structures are produced), obviously, Δs' = 0, then

4, ..., n) endogenous, exogenous, accidental, motivated, subordinate and insubordinate (inc. destructphilian) types and subtypes of destructuring, in these cases Δs > 0 (the original structures change), but Δs' < 0.

The processes cover inanimate and animate nature and society, for instance nuclear aggregation and decay, crystallization, evolutionary tracks – aromorphosis and general degeneration.

Real processes, no doubt, are often combinations of structuring and destructuring. For example, when we eat something we destroy it, and yet structure ourselves. When we build a factory which is very useful for people, we first clear up the ground in natural forest and displace animals that live there, even if it is to be an environmentally friendly production.

Finally, the question of the death penalty: what should we do to a human creature that has killed (not as a soldier in a war) a human being, 2 beings, ..., has done this in such and such a way...?

Those are still the questions of the dynamics of s'. They are called complex and complicated processes of ds'.

Two principles are introduced to assess their integral quality, that is, to determine whether they are cases of + or – ds' and hence whether they are good or bad doings.

The s'-subordination principle is this:

A complex process is qualified as a structuring one if in it the forms of higher s' are created at the expense of restricted enough destruction of the forms of lower s', or in other, simpler words more complex things are created at the expense of less complex ones, no unnecessary destruction taking place (regulated complexity of indivisible form is meant here).

Thus, if a man eats a fish then that is all right, but if a fish eats a man then that is a bad doing not only from the point of view of the man, but from the standpoint of the external, objective criterion.

Another interesting problem is analyzed: how do the dynamics of s' and processes of macro-forming (aggregation of micro-forms) correlate with each other?

Given that the indivisible micro-forms are nuclei, atoms, molecules, bacteria, organisms of plants and animals, and finally social atoms (human individuals), we differentiate between two principal types of the process:

The next step is the enquiry into the vector quality of material forms. It is determined by the direction of its activity in the aspect of complexity trends.

After a proper scrutiny, form-building and destruction aimed at self-form-building are qualified as naturally directed processes. This is exactly the way in which atoms, molecules, crystals and organisms evolve(d) and live.

But human forms are different from inanimate and other living ones in their ability to have an abnormal, perverted direction of activity. This is the so-called destruct-philia = destruction aimed at destruction, the one not subordinate to any structuring goals such as, say, (self-) protection or nourishment.

The social processes of ds' contaminated with this phenomenon are called complicated ones (to distinguish them from the complex processes mentioned above). The neutralization principle is applied to determine their integral quality destruction (neutralization) of the carrier of self-contained destruction has a structuring effect.

In general, moral and intellectual qualities yield well to interpretation in terms of ds' as individual vector components.

Since human individuals are very different in their structuring life-effect, we face the opportunity to properly differentiate between adequate and inadequate types of social vertical mobility with a view on their impact on the politics of/in a social macro-form.

The following value principle is obviously drawn from the above:

A simplified version (for statics only): the more complex a thing is, the better it is.

Hence we must think man more valuable than any other living creature.

But then we should also allow for the aspect of dynamics: how the thing manifests itself in the processes of structuring and destructuring, whether it builds or destroys, whether it builds a lot and destroys little or destroys a lot and builds little?

So we add something like this – the more a thing builds in general (complexifies) and the less it destroys in general, the better the thing is.

The reviewed natural processes and regularities serve a good ground for the objectivist concept of morals. Our moral judgements are not (only) expressions of our subjective feelings and wishes, but may obviously truly state whether a person's action corresponds to the paramount natural tendency of complexification. Moral feeling, if one is endowed with it, is an imprint of Nature in one's soul.


The full text of the treatise is in Russian on


About the author:

Bystrov Alexsander Veniaminovich, candidate of philosophical sciences
e-mail: alexstrim@mail.ru, alexstrim@lycos.com.

Date of the publication:

February 27, 2001

Electronic version:

© NiT. Current publications, 1997