Dear Joe and colleagues
After very interesting postings these days by Igor, Loet, Karl, etc., let me re-elaborate the initial questions I made --getting them even worse.
First, about the unrecognized consequences directly stemming out from "biological complexity" (I wrote awkwardly about a background of cellular and molecular complexities, while I should be addressing the natural roots of communication within human groups). Communication needs themselves among growing and growing numbers of individuals generate several thresholds which can only be crossed --in order to increase social complexity--- by fundamental say "informational devices". For instance, without writing and numbers you cannot grow cities, develop urban civilizations. Without a justice system and some shared religion you cannot unite feudal territories and cities into a relatively big kingdom (more or less!!). There is a very curious table in Jared Diamond (1996), where basic social levels of complexity are into an axis, and development of institutions and social problem solving devices are on the other axis. It can be interpreted under the above... and deserves a lot of reflection indeed.
Second, on the kind of social networks, hierarchy and heterarchy would appear as two extremes, or two very different cases within a number of alternative net topologies. Conversely to discussing only topologies, the notion of "bond" itself could be put into focus. A very curious distinction between "strong" bonds, implying permanent emotional attachment and "weak" ones providing only a modicum of interrelationships, but a number of them, would remind parallel dynamics of biomolecular bonds in the water milieu. Complexity is based on multifarious identities and networkings impersonated by the same individual, wearing very different weak bonding "hats", say like the flickering clusters in water. This may be a useful paradigm to discuss on the evolution of social structures ---including "agency".
Third, on social complexity and information, again. I cannot help but thinking dogmatically: that information science should provide the keys related to understand the essential openness of human beings and societies, their self-production which derives from their biological roots and involves the crucial phenomenon of meaning --rather than the relatively "inanimate" parlance derived from systems & complex adaptive entities... we need new thought (socioinformational?) beyond the cul-de-sac originated in the conceptual dominance and overextensions from physicalism.
Joe, as you see we are like a band of jazz players... hope that our cacophony does not saturate your hears!
best regards Pedro
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