Anti-Entropic Role of Information

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Akop P. Nazaretyan:

"In order to sustain a far-from-equilibrium condition, an organism must work in opposition to the environment's pressure. This work requires free energy to be extracted from other systems. So, in order to continually tap energy from outside and escape from itself becoming a source of energy for its enemies, an organism needs information: It has to orientate itself in the habitat, forecast events and organize its activity in conformity with a dynamic situation. In other words, it must construct anticipative world models. Without this purposeful and highly sensitive anti-entropy activity, neither long-term, far-from-equilibrium conditions, nor the progressive building up of stages in living matter's non-equilibrium would be possible. For its own part, competition for matter and energy resources has served as an immutable motive for the perfection of modeling procedures, so that the specific weight of information versus matter/energy has been increasing with time. It is on the social stage that the mind became more and more the determinant cause of material evolution. So, as we like to get rid of teleology, or the ‘drive to evolution’ assumption, we still have to assume living matter's drive to sustain highly improbable, farfrom-equilibrium conditions. This occurs in a manner similar to Henri Bergson's élan vital, but, in order to avoid the French philosopher's dualism, we must seek the evolutionary premises of living organisms' immanent attribute. As far as Big Historians in the West have used equilibrium patterns, they have tended to confine themselves to discussions of matter/energy interactions and underestimated the information processes. As a result, the history and prehistory of subjectivity, as well as mental and spiritual reality, are viewed as epiphenomena (side effects) of material structures that do not play a role in evolution.


In Russia, the influence of Cosmist philosophy remains strong among many of the most qualified astrophysicists and mathematicians, including those who actually work outside of Russia. We find its influence even extending to those who reject its naturalist scenario but still relate the potential future of the Metagalaxy with the increasing intervention of civilization (Novikov 1988; Linde 1990; Lefevre 1996). Not only Russian physicists come to similar suggestions, but also others. For instance, the eminent American specialist in quantum theory, David Deutsch (1997), who seems to had never heard of Cosmist philosophers, distinctly expressed the same idea: The future story of the Universe depends on the future story of intelligence, which will progressively enhance its control over cosmic space as completely as it is dominating the Earth's biosphere (see also Nazaretyan 2010b). Although this suggestion looks amazing on the surface, it becomes reasonable when we observe the long trend over billions of years. Looking back, first at the millennia of social history, we note how ‘virtual’ events like novel ideas and values, religious and philosophical doctrines, poetic, artistic and musical images, technological and scientific findings, all have exerted – via human activities – stronger and stronger impacts upon the Earth. Ultimately, their far reaching effects surpassed the ones of spontaneous geological and climatic cataclysms full of blind power. Going back far beyond human history, we again find that living matter's growing capacity to use energy flows is related to its growing ‘cleverness’, although in this case the fact is less obvious. To argue it, Vernadsky has used the concept of a ‘coefficient of cephalization’ – the anatomic correlate for the intellectual quotient of vertebrate species. If we take modern fauna's aggregative index for 1, then the index for the Miocene (25 million years ago) would be 0.5 and for the beginning of the Cenozoic (67 million years ago) would equal 0.25. This outstanding Russian evolutionist did not read the words by Norbert Weiner (they were written after Vernadsky's death in 1945), but he was also puzzled by numerous facts that demonstrated the independent role of information: How can mind, which is surely not a form of energy, influence material processes?"