“Synergistic Selection”: A Darwinian Frame for the Evolution of Complexity

The “synergism hypothesis,” and the closely related concept of “synergistic selection,” involves a theoretical frame shift. The theory proposes that cooperative functional effects (synergies) of various kinds have provided selective advantages over time and has driven the evolution of complexity; the theory is concerned with the benefits and costs of various forms of cooperation.

Control Information Theory: The “Missing Link” In the Science Of Cybernetics

Although Claude Shannon’s statistical approach to information has made many valuable contributions, it is blind to the functional properties of information. Here we propose a new kind of cybernetic information that we call “control information.” It is defined as the capacity (know how) to control the acquisition, disposition and utilization of matter/energy in “purposive” (cybernetic) processes. We also propose a formalization in terms of the quantity of available energy that can be controlled by a given unit of information in a given context.

Synergy Goes to War: 
A Bioeconomic Theory of Collective Violence

Synergy has played a key causal role in the evolution of complexity, from the very origins of life to the evolution of humankind and complex societies. This also applies to social behavior, including the use of collective violence for various purposes: predation, defense against predators, the acquisition of needed resources and the defense of these resources against other groups and species. In nature and humankind alike, collective violence is, by and large, an evolved, synergy-driven instrumentality.

Synergy, Cybernetics, and the Evolution of Politics

From the perspective of the growing theoretical and research literature in the biological sciences on the “progressive” evolution of complex living systems over time, as well as the science of cybernetics (communications and control processes), politics in human societies represents a variation, and elaboration, on a major evolutionary theme. Political processes have played an indispensable functional role in goal-oriented cooperative systems at all “levels” of biological organization, including the evolution of humankind.