How Hierarchies of Level are created & Transcended in Explanations
Just as efforts to explain the origins and properties of Living Things in terms of elementary particles, or even the last immediately prior Level before Life, is impossible, as it is also never achievable to explain Thinking in similarly related lower order terms – even cells and synapses will not deliver what is required.
As in Reality in general, there is an undoubted hierarchy of Levels involved, each with its own system-dependant forms, which are never mere summations of totally unchanged basic units from one level directly producing the next!
For one thing, any significant developments always require revolutionary events – usually termed Emergences, and these involve not only entirely new structures at the new level, but also, though the lower producing level continues to exist, it is significantly changed in various ways, first by the cataclysm, which precipitated the transformation, and thereafter by the new level above it. Once a new level is established and stable, the level that led to it no longer exists as such.
Indeed, these Emergent Interludes are so revolutionary that they cannot be explained directly in terms of what came before in the immediately prior Level. Indeed, those parts of the old, which were radically changed by the processes involved, were so initially dissociated as to be consequently reconstructed upon entirely new lines, as a consequence of the transforming event, as to thereafter no longer able to play the same role. The emergence not only creates the New, but also changes and limits the old too.
And, any attempt to explain that transformation in terms of what currently remains at the lower level, will be impossible, never mind the complex following sequences that would have also been part of the whole Event.
Some examples of this are well known, such as the impossibility of explaining Life from currently non-living situations at the lower Level. And, of course, our present task, that of dealing with Consciousness is another.
Now, the direct proof of these assertions is the unavoidable division of studies into different subjects – like Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geology are not just difficult problems, delayed until some time in the future, when they evidence will be available for them to be tackled, but are, each and every one, a reflection of the emergence of entirely new Levels, with wholly new properties and laws as also are, crucially, the top-down transformations that are the inevitable results of such events.
Now, though some simple features are so explained, all the important ones are not! But, what confuses this is the simultaneous existence of the various, relatively independent Levels. For, if a lower Level were to be removed, there is no doubt that all the Levels above it would vanish too.
It seems to be a contradiction, but it is usually explained in terms of the relative independence of the Superstructure and the Base. This occurs in all aspects of Human Culture, so we are certainly familiar with it. And, it is often used as an argument against the Marxists, by saying that they cannot explain their own existence with their “strict determinist ideas”.
Though, such an argument is clearly not well-founded, as it is ONLY the Marxists, who know about and study Emergent Interludes (Revolutions) that occur in all levels of Development.
Indeed, the realisation of the occurrence of these crucial Events throughout Reality in Development was recognised first occurring in the Development of Human Societies, which suffered totally transforming Revolutions. And, in studying these throughout History, thereafter led to a wider application, across the board, in all Developments in every area of Reality.
Of course, knowing something of Stabilities, Crises, Dissolutions and trajectories of Change is never sufficient. These have to be unearthed in all areas of study – in their own terms.
But, without a doubt, knowing what cannot be done focuses our attention on the areas, which can be investigated, and also philosophically changes such investigator from pluralist to holist, and equips them to look for the key impasses, via which all progress can be made.
Finally, as many failed attempts have proved conclusively, the task of explaining how a Level emerges from a lower level ground turns out to be impossible by the usual means, and with the usual assumptions.
Attempts made by using the currently existing features of an evidently lower level to explain the creation of the new one above it will always be impossible.
And the reason for this is simple!
On creating the new Level, the Emergent Interlude, which achieved it, not only built the New, but first had to dismantle literally all the control features of the prior stable Level causing its dissociation as a System, and hence removing all inhibitory controls, and hence enabling the wholly New to emerge.
With the so-called “policeman processes” dismantled, numerous new proto systems quickly developed, and competed, until the ultimate victory of one, or of a related or coordinated set, changed a complex, competitive situation into a single system with its own control processes to maintain its dominance.
Thus, not only was a new self-maintained Level established, but it also via top down controls, changed the still existing lower Level.
It was no longer that which had precipitated the Emergent Event.
Hence all attempts to use a current lower level to explain the one above it is bound to fail, for it isn’t the one that was involved in the transforming Interlude!