Information System Theory (IST)

Related discussions:
SMN and System Theory: exploring the parallels between SMN and system theory to show that SMN is a mathematical formulism that naturally gives rise to a system theoretic logic.
Metaphysical Context
Related: metaphysical ideas in other people's work.

System theory is the foundation of a truly general understanding of the world; the concept 'system' is a universal analogy for any 'thing' at all regardless of its particular properties, origin or substance, thus it provides a unifying or synthesising force to counter the fragmenting or analytical aspects of science and empirical knowledge. With the use of this analogy one can consider aspects of things and phenomena that are applicable to any and all things and phenomena. It may be used to translate and unify concepts across the many fragmented and often estranged fields of knowledge.

System theory posits that everything is a system in the sense that the concept system can be applied to everything in a meaningful and practical sense. Every thing is a system that is composed of sub systems that interact to create that system and so too for each of these sub systems down to some ground of being. Thus ultimately there is only a field of primitive systems and the information that mediates their interactions. Through their permutations and combinations they build up the successive levels of systems. Furthermore, every system is a sub system within larger systems and interacts with other systems passing information, coordinating, organising, cooperating, competing, etc. Thus forming the higher level super systems and so on up to the universe as a whole which is a single unified and coherent system.

The name Information System Theory has previously been used to describe theoretical computer science, whereby a computer is a system that processes information, but information is far more general that just the contents of computer files or data structures. Every system is composed of information and it also processes information, regardless of what form that information takes, whether its medium is computer files, light rays, particles of matter and so on. Information is simply discernible difference and may thereby manifest in any medium whatsoever.

IST conceptualises a system as a symbol within an idiom as well as an idiom in itself. An idiom is an abstract concept derived from language but generalised to all systems of symbols and relations. An idiom is based upon the idea of a group from group theory, which provides a conceptual bridge between set theory and algebra within the context of mathematics and in the context of SMN it describes how an information medium (set of bits) becomes and information space (information 'algebra'). There are however other complexities associated with the concept idiom that make it more useful than group in this context, such as the dynamic expression of creative forms that arises in communication and interaction. Just as in language, an idiom is a representational medium, it provides a basis set of entities and relations within a common space. These entities may combine thus producing more complex permutations. An idiom is a general concept that underlies all information spaces and systems. For example, the English language is an idiom that allows for the creation of words, sentences, etc. Mathematics is an idiom that allows for the creation of mathematical statements. Space time and matter is an idiom that allows for the creation of atoms, molecules and planets. Building materials combined with building practices is an idiom that allows for the creation of buildings.

What systems are made of, whether atoms, computers, words, binary bits, and so on, and the medium in which they manifest is irrelevant to the study of their general system theoretic properties. Systems arise from underlying information processes and are thus essentially composed of information or computation; they are dynamical patterns of information forming within an information space. They are symbols within an idiom that defines their relations, they are essentially representing information and conveying information. Through their communication and interaction they are manifesting higher level systems; so ultimately, all systems are patterns of information. Therefore only the patterns and relations need be studied, these may then be contextualised into particular scenarios and developed into particular models. In this way apparently different systems with similar underlying physical or causal structures can be studied in parallel or analogically. For example; viruses, memes, cells, organisms, organisations and societies all share similarities; an organism is a civilisation of trillions of cells that has direct parallels with human organisations and civilisations, also the market is analogous to an ecosystem in which commercial organisations evolve. Patterns can be abstracted out, these are the patterns of interaction that arise between the various systems involved, it doesn't matter whether the systems are made of matter, information in a computer, information in a mind, documents within a bureaucracy, symbols within a game or anything at all. System theory studies the generalised patterns and properties that are common to all systems.

It is in the vicinity where the mystic and scientific perspectives meet that IST finds its most fertile soil. When reality is conceived of as a transcendent information space that manifests an empirical or experiential context, spiritual science describes the cosmos from the perspective of the transcendent frame and physical science describes the cosmos from the perspective of the empirical frame, but both are describing the same cosmos. IST is a theoretical framework with a perspective that encompasses both the transcendent and empirical frames and describes how they relate to each other and how phenomena in one frame correspond to phenomena in the other. In this sense IST is able to comprehend the whole of the metaphysical nature of reality and to provide a context via which both spiritual and physical perspectives may be united and brought into harmony as a holistic framework for comprehending all aspects of reality on all levels.

IST is however derived from a perspective embedded within the empirical universe, it can only consider the general properties of the Ground of Being, and how it manifests the world, it cannot say what the Ground of Being actually IS or anything about the context within which it may itself exist; this is beyond our grasp unless It somehow informs us. IST cannot say anything about the question “Why does anything exist at all?”. Given a Ground of Being or idiomatic basis set IST explains how this unfolds into the type of world that we experience but it cannot say how or why this first basis set arose. Ultimately the Ground of Being cannot be defined by our minds, it resides in the realm of pure mystery, it is the foundation and source of all Being. We cannot know or speak about its particulars, but we can ascertain its general principles and parameters, and everything that arises from the Ground of Being is potentially knowable as it is all coherent and computable.


Pragmatically, what is required is some system theoretic metaphysical and philosophical paradigm to give us deep understanding of the nature of ourselves and our world and also some 'tool' or technology to allow us to communicate and utilise this deeper understanding. IST may provide us with the philosophy and System Matrix Notation may provide us with the technology. SMN is a mathematical formulation of IST and provides its core functionality.

IST is Idiomatic System Theory or Information System Theory, which is a conceptual framework that provides a system theoretic metaphysics of the nature of reality. Through successive permutation levels this metaphysical basis is built up into a complex and coherent philosophical system that could accurately incorporate the detailed complexities of the world without introducing spurious distortions that arise from our ignorance or prejudice. This philosophical framework could provide a coherent unified conceptual foundation for science, spirituality and engineering or any conceptual framework attempting to represent, comprehend and interact with any aspect of reality.

SMN is System Matrix Notation, which is a technology that incorporates system theory, information theory, quantum theory and a system theoretic metaphysics to provide a mathematical framework that allows one to represent, simulate and analyse systems of all kinds. SMN is a fusion of concepts from system theory, linear algebra, probability theory, information theory, computer science, metaphysics, quantum physics, group theory and ancient wisdom. This can be implemented as a software application that provides one with a metaphysically coherent information space within which systems may exist and interact. These are artificial universes that we may interact with or technological extensions of our own universe. It reifies the concept of cyberspace as a tangible coherent space with a deep metaphysical structure.

The Ogdoadic Glyph

'Glyph' is the old word for a Mind Map or Concept Map. The glyph below utilises an ogdoadic (8 sided) symmetry that is interpreted in terms of the computational paradigm:

All of these concepts are required for there to be a system in a world, however the words given are only indications of the underlying concepts, they are helpful mnemonics and shouldn't be taken as indicative of the whole story. On the vertical axis there is information which is the base representational medium, or the underlying discernible difference out of which the system is formed. The idiom is the structure or algebra of this representational medium, it defines the base level forms which combine in different permutations and provide an information space within which forms may exist. The concept of 'idiom' contains within it the concept of a permutation space of all possible idiomatic forms which is a transcendent context of potentialities where each point in the permutation space represents an entire cosmic configuration that may become actual; this is the multiverse. At this stage we have only a vast network of potential forms, they are simply patterns which are associated together to form an idiom. The horizontal axis then introduces the perceptual duality of internal and external; this is the identification of I and world which transforms these patterns in relation into a world which may be experienced. It provides a center and a circumference to an empirical experience of a world and thereby resolves out of the cosmic pattern things as separate objects which exist in space.

These four concepts information, idiom, internal and external form a conceptual foundation or outer diamond within which the inner square arises. On the top right there is information in an external form which manifests interaction (or communication) as it flows through the world between external entities. On the bottom right there is an idiom in an external form manifesting metric space or physical space, it is a shared information space within which entities may exist and interact. On the top left there is information in an internal form manifesting experience (or perception/interpretation/response) which arises from the flow of information within that part of the cosmic network that has been identified as being internal. On the bottom left there is an idiom in an internal form that manifests a state space or a structured information space of internal states and their relations which map out all potential states of being, such as subjective experience, knowledge and behaviour.

Then at the center we have system which is the culmination of this whole process and which is an entity within a dualistic empirical world that has a space of potential internal states, experiences the flow of information within itself, exists in spatial relationship with other systems and engages in interactions by communicating information through this shared metric space. It experiences itself as separate from the world so there is internal and external division of the cosmos and on a transcendent level all of this is simply a configuration of idiomatic elements within an abstract space of potentiality which is represented in some base level information medium.

The glyph shows recursive levels where on each level it is flipped around the vertical axis; although it cannot be seen, on each level there is also a central system object but these sit on top of each other and only the highest level can be seen in the glyph. This recursion of levels indicates the process of nested information spaces, for example, consider the outer left side which represents internal; within ones internal state space one may manifest a dream which is a sub empirical world, so ones mind is internal to oneself but it has now become the external space within which dream characters or thoughts or memes exist. So ones internal space has become the external metric space for systems on another level. Or one could say that the outer ring represents a high level system and its internal state and experiential apparatus arise out of the lower level interactions of subsystems within a metric space and these have their own internal space which contains further levels of subsystems. So as the nested levels recurse deep into the centre of the glyph, at the end of that recursion lies the Ground of Being.

These transcendent and empirical frames are nested one within the other; empirical systems in one frame may interact in a manner such that they are a transcendent process manifesting sub empirical systems within a sub space; or as above so below thereby producing worlds within worlds. For example, SMN or a VR program are empirical forms but they can represent within themselves the transcendent state of sub empirical systems so they can manifest sub empirical worlds within an internal simulation space.

For and interpretation of this in terms of Vedic metaphysics see here.

Related discussions:
Metaphysical Context
Related: metaphysical ideas in other people's work.