Monday, October 25, 2010

Novelocity and Sustainability

Novelocity is a new term which means the rate of ‘newness’ experienced by a system or an entity. If 'novelocity' is too high, the ability to optimally react to unexpected or even standard stimuli is degraded and harm may occur. Additional energy is drawn from core competencies which subsequently undermine and weaken the system or host. If 'novelocity' is too low, habits and patterns are etched deeper in pathways and the ability of the entity or system to react, learn and adapt is hindered. Another byproduct of low 'novelocity' may be that of stagnation or boredom, which can result in some cases, in a subsequent extreme period of variance (a form of punctuated equilibrium) akin to a kick start to establish an optimal 'novelocity' once again. Change is constant, novelty not necessarily so.

Entities or systems that exhibit a drive for self-preservation (survival) will still cooperate or collaborate amongst themselves in manners which allow for the optimal creation, consumption and sharing of energy. This collaboration inevitably leads to increased production through specialisation and reciprocity in times of need. Whether intrinsic or extrinsic, in what may be deemed a sentient system, the concept of ‘enlightened self-interest’ is demonstrated. Once interconnectedness and interdependence is realised e.g. the underlying participation and involvement in a wider ecosystem, the system attempts to optimise and grow itself by cross pollinating, exploring and refining the intersections with other components of the macro system. The rate at which this exploration is actively sought may not actually be the ‘novelocity’ but is a correlate of the actual 'novelocity' rate. The energy expended in seeking this novelty (and subsequently engaging in it) can drain or dilute a systems core resources by drawing down upon the existing supply channels normally used to service core energies. This creates a negative feedback loop and overall system degradation. This suboptimal or failure mode is similar to that of a collapse or paralysis by virtue of expanding too quickly but is however predicated upon conscious/unconscious desire to seek out novelty whilst ignoring periods of required homeostasis. This is not necessarily ‘future shock’ but a cognitive and physical inability to deal with the rate of novelty.

Sustainability contains aspects of independence, interdependence and replenishment of energies. Sustainability also carries with it a concept of growth, homeostasis and self-awareness. Whether a system/relationship is two or more cells, people or planets; there is continual movement through time and space, thus, an implied ‘novelocity’. Entropy and ectropy notwithstanding, there are only so many states that one can pattern match against.

The question is what role 'novelocity' plays in sustainability? Can the aggregate survive without drawing down excessive energy from other dependent systems or overly diluting itself by constantly seeking out novelty and why?

Can elements of the local system/interdependent components both grow while satisfying the requirements of stability, safety and security all the while maintaining an optimal 'novelocity'?

Further reading:
Cohabitation in the Construct
Love 2.0
Go Deep

No comments: