Practopoietic cycle (loop) of causation

In a practopoietic system it is only the top level of organization that acts on the system environment. Lower levels act indirectly by affecting the higher levels first, which in turn then act on the environment.

The situation with receiving feedback from the environment is different. There is no more need for mediation through higher levels of organization. Lower levels may receive their own feedback. Alternatively, lower levels rely on the same sources of feedback as higher levels but extract their own information from that feedback—i.e., information that is relevant uniquely for them.

This results in a specific form of the flow of interactions, which is illustrated in the figure below. This type of dynamics is referred to as practopoietic loop of causation. One property of this dynamics is that monitor-and-act units at lower levels of organization tend to be activated less intensively/frequently than those at higher levels.

This loop, when organized into a functional T3-structure, can be considered the elementary circuit of consciousness. The difference between the elementary circuit and a full consciousness is in total cybernetic variety and the degree to which a system became good regulator.

Figure legend: Left: the environment. Right: the system. Top: highest level of organization. Bottom: lowest level of organization.

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