C-101. Grasping (at?) change

Feynman, whose perspicuity would hardly seem deniable, did however apparently miss a point in taking social science to task for, in his view, its less- than-scientific efforts. What he might have pointed out is that endeavors to grasp later phases of CEM-history (App. XI, App. XII, App. XVI), wherein multi-step behavioral entities, employing cognition, communication and composition to effect change, are not likely to reveal themselves to the scientific methods of physicists and chemists, whose attentions (to one-step behavioral entities) have been directed to changes in earlier phases of CEM-history.

It is important, to be sure, that the early phases of CEM-history continue to repeat themselves, that CEM-history is cumulative, giving some credence (and undoubted utility) to ahistorical analysis (C-100). But modern history, with its exponential increase in compositional changes (II), embarrasses any claim that ahistorical analysis will suffice for our attempts to grasp change.

How then to grasp change? Not just by grabbing at accessible and interesting particular changes (C-39). Although this seems often to have been the way. CEM-history shows fields and disciplines aligned with different kinds of changes, for different kinds of behavioral entities (one-step vs. multi-step, esp.), receiving focal attention (App. XVI: diagram). Physicists see one kind of change (e.g., in positions), chemists another (e.g., valenced combinations), biologists still another (e.g., growths), and composers yet another (e.g., developments).

Some observers of particular changes make too little of phenomena. Those who espouse evolution as a concept or theory – not just as a factual condition re body changes — appear to have little more than an unbalanced metaphor for change per se (C-20). They overlook the interdependency of body and step structures (XI; C-38). Metaphorically, “fire” was more respectful of behavior.

What about change per se? Change merely seen via a summary concept for particular changes is incomplete and can be inaccurate. It invites, we see, segregation among “kinds” of changes and “territorial” separation among observers of this or that segregated set. It invites the invidious status criticism directed toward those studying changes not easily realized, such as changes in human progress, where changes are – and may need to be – compositional and not just circumstantial, where principles of the Nature of Things reign rather than of an underlying order of things, where to know is a matter of trying to order and not just of finding orderings (C-93), where ADEPT gets its due along with ADOPT and ADAPT as a behavioral metastrategy (C-9), where generality is more than universality among particulars (III). Change as just a summary concept does not realize, does not see and help bring about, historical progress– the contingent emergent materiality (CEM: App. XI, App. XII; C-78) — that is the path and promised possibility of the Nature of Things.

How might we better grasp change? In executing transformations of concepts to theoretical constructs (C-85, C-88, C-100), we have been able to overcome some definitional shortcomings of concepts to bring out general and behavioral (step) aspects of consequentiality – change being more than mere sequence (just as it is more than difference: it is difference plus similarity [C-4], any passion or penchant for identifying differences notwithstanding). How does “change” look, consequentially, seen as comprising, linguistically, two nouns and two verbs (App. XIX; C-88):
  • 1st noun (essence): change as behavioral necessity, in consequence of the Nature of Things (See VI: Control imperative);
  • 1st verb (intransitive): change as developed compositional capability (I:Pbeh, II, V; C-96);
  • 2nd verb (transitive): change as exercised capability re focus of attention; steps taken, as to arrange or avoid a collision (I: Sbeh; C-90);
  • 2nd noun (particular consequence): change as behavioral product. (Conceptually, this may be [alternatively] viewed adjectivally: change as an attribute of step’s other product[s]. Composed vs circumstantial change[s] may not then be specified. Or change[s] may be deemed either all compositional or all circumstantial. With concepts you get confusion, confounding and controversy.)
Fundamentally, what this tells us is that “change” implies a lot about consequentiality that its conceptual usage and dictionary definitions do not adequately represent. What has been grasped of change is inadequate … and not the way forward for humanity’s optimal realization. Consequentiality per se (1st noun) and process consequentiality (1st and 2nd verbs) are poorly realized.

The dangers of a 4th stage of consequentiality emphasis (C-97: Late-stage functionality) loom, where “change” and “consequence” are but synonymous terms and only applicable to particulars. The leverage of the general and behavioral aspects of change and consequentiality are forfeit. (See C-104 for a needed correction.)


“Why,” Feynman might have asked the social sciences “are you asking circumstantial change questions about compositional change efforts and outcomes?” (II; C-17). It isn’t as though his own life’s richness embraced no more than his physicist’s trade. He might even have asked, “Don’t you get the idea of science: to know?” That our compositional efforts to produce solutions for our problems yield knowledge too (C-93) – and could yield more (e.g., App. IX). That the questions of science have to be composed even to discover what is there to be found, composed or circumstantial. That composition before the fact, seen after the fact as circumstance (XII: diagrams), can fall victim to dysfunctional interpretation (e.g., as matters of choice [C-98], as merely evolutional [C-20]).

Sensery technology (C-96) that serves to grasp this or that section of CEM-history is incomplete, underdeveloped and when applied to other sections gives us an inaccurate map to guide us.

(c) R.F. Carter