Coherence and Emergence

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Our universe selects for coherence and emergence

“How do we get fundamentally new things out of relationships of things where that didn't exist before? Emergence is the closest thing to magic that's actually a scientifically admissible term. ”

- Daniel Schmachtenberger


Coherence occurs when different parts come together and create something greater. The difference is emergence.

Coherence enhances evolutionary fitness because emergence may create properties that offer some evolutionary advantage. Things can come together in various ways. Adaptions that offer the most advantages are selected for and are what drives the arrow of evolution.

In complexity theory, evolution is defined as more elegantly ordered complexity.

From the big bang to stars to chemicals to planets to single-cell organisms to multi-cell organisms to humans, the universe has selected for increasing elegantly ordered complexity.

On the opposite side, defection, which occurs when parts are not aligned with the whole, is selected against. An example, and an instance of a multipolar trap, is the tragedy of the commons. In this scenario, a person exploits a shared resource at the whole community's expense instead of cooperating to ensure sustainability. Reciprocally, this incentivizes others to exploit the resource, too, defecting on the global optimum, thereby rendering the system eventually self-terminating. Thus, avoidance of defection in favor of coherence also enhances evolutionary fitness.

Thresholds of increasing complexity: Ingredients + Goldilocks Conditions = New Complexity

As Big History suggests, new complexity results from having both the proper ingredients and goldilocks conditions. As an example, after the universe created stars, it consisted of hydrogen and helium only. When giant stars ran out of hydrogen, they collapsed, and with high enough temperatures, the fusion of helium nuclei created many different elements that form our periodic table. This collapse brought increased complexity that could lead to the formation of planets.

File:Threshold 3 New Chemical Elements.jpg
An example of a new threshold when new chemical elements emerged

These two concepts are a core part of the Evolutionary Background of Game B.