It is central to my perspective that we may, in deciding how we feel about reality, look at the higher properties of the system.

By this, I mean that our understanding and interpretation of the parts should suffer serious modification based on the possibilities and actualities observed in the whole (or, the emergent properties). To observe the existence and behaviour of particles is one thing. But if I observe that human beings can be made out of such particles, and that I am one such human being, that tells me something new about the particles that I did not know before. Similarly, it is one thing to observe and quantify human nature. But if I observe what happens to nations full of people all behaving according to this nature, it tells me something about each individual’s nature that I did not know when I knew only a few of them.

I believe that the significance of emergent properties cascades all the way down to the fundamental levels, and cannot simply be dismissed as curious bearings-out of the properties that were “already there,” at the bottom.


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