C-115. The CEM Thing About Functionality (BFEPS)

A fact of life: As functionality increases so then does needed functionality (C-110: What is called for). This in addition to, and perhaps neglected in the context of, needed functionality occasioned by changes in body and circumstance, the needed functionality occasioned by dysfunctions and the fundamental functionality (VII) necessitated by the Nature of Things (III) not yet fulfilled – i.e., the behavioral problem (I:Pbeh). The ball of string (or, more dramatically, the rock of Sisyphus) keeps getting bigger. There is continuing, insistent need for still more control capability (VI). This is an important aspect of the history of behavior (C-113), along with molecular development in step making and taking (e.g., reflection in a second step on a first step outcome that leads, via Realization of needed functionality, to an even more molecular step).

This behavioral history is part “good news” and part “bad news.” The good news is that recent history shows an increase in the slope of compositional change relative to that of circumstantial change (II), as we have made more of and with step making and taking. The bad news is that we are losing ground to needed functionality – and the growing imbalance of decision making over problem solving, “that other climate problem” (C-98), is foreboding.

Improved functionality is both need and (partial) result … and purpose as well … and very much a contribution to the human species too, for our behavioral problem that needs solving (I:Pbeh) and the help thereby extended to solving our many situational problems (I:Psit). Humanism too is need, (partial) result and purpose.

We see this fact of life in the “governing” problem. We should see it better than we do – perhaps because there the emphasis is often on dysfunction in behavioral entities instead of on still-needed step making and taking capabilities. We see this in “big government” and “bureaucracy” concerns with respect to governing, (“bugs,”corruption, alienation) in this or that organizational structure – i.e. inadequate behavioral architecture (C-90) and/or its usage (C-97: Late-stage functionality). We see it in the unbalanced ratio of and emphasis on hierarchic control systems over operating systems that need to be better realized (C-36).

We see it in some of the dysfunctions attributed to “complexity.” More functionality; ergo more needed functionality.Steps, not just bodies, have a size problem. (It doesn’t help that behavior’s “dinosaur” problem is the late-stage functionality quagmire below the Escarpment. (See 0: S-P; App. XII; C-97, C-114.) A quagmire from which we can escape and an Escarpment we can surmount only by starting over so as to get out of the former and around the latter … and onto a Realization path [App. XIX; C-107, C-111, C-114].)

As step size grows so too does the behavioral problem (I:Pbeh; C-2) … and it grows more forcibly (C-41).There’s more to manage (e.g., regulation). Consider, for example, the need to balance our balancings (C-82) – once we have begun to respect the dynamics of step taking (XI) and instituted a means to detect imbalances (e.g., the Dynamic Profile Assay of App. XVII). Lack of needed functionality rivals needed correction of malfunction in our consideration of investment policy.

Realization, from comprehension of needed functionality through capability development and technological innovations in body and/or step structures to solve this and that situational problem … Realization (aka: life, becoming) because problem solving never ends (I; App. XIX).

How then can we possibly see and make progress without applying the SGN correction (C-104)? First to free up step making and taking (III; C-114), and then to see the implications for needed functionality of the generalities inherent in the Nature of Things (III) – i.e., partial order, consequentiality and discontinuity – and the import of these generalities fora priori behavioral principles, for principles that we can use before the fact, principles that enable us to know something other than, and in addition to, what we can learn after the fact (“from experience,” from practices attempted and adopted).We can fashion a summary theory of behavior from practices used but we need more foundation than that for an explanatory theory of behavior.

With increased functionality, situational problems increase along with the behavioral problem (i.e., more of the “complexity” business; and,e.g., “multi-tasking” in a not-so-simple life). Recall our opening BFEPS topic on quality of life (0): The QL-point, we said, is not all that far along if we look beyond the continuing problems we have already solved (0:Sp), with their significant drain on educational resources, to problems we haven’t yet solved (0:S-P, Ps and P) … if we look up at our Escarpment (App. XII: diagram). Consider, for instance, anthropogenic changes in our circumstances, the huge burden of problems arising from our solutions (Ps), such as the problems of global warming and word definition, problems behavioral as well as situational (I). We’ve built an escarpment when what we needed and still need is a platform.

There is another aspect of step size to be considered. As more behavioral entities emerge (see human population increase) with the capabilities and technologies to make and take more and bigger steps, and this within a limited domain (space to take steps in, and with limited resources to fuel step making and taking), then needed Pbeh and Psit functionality increases still more. More and harder entity collisions are to be expected, as in competition for space and resources. Union (C-112) becomes an absolute functional necessity … a control capability with capability emphasized. Without the needed focus on BS interdependency (C-114) and the other potential resources of the SGN correction, are we going to be able to realize that union?


The unending “more functionality thus more needed functionality” (F=>NF) complicates the already complicated. As our outline of the Quality of Life (0) points out, needed functionality (unsolved problems) has always surpassed the functionality of and by behavioral entities (solutions) – i.e., NF/F >1. In Control Imperative terms (VI), control need exceeds control capacity and/or control capability. Further, as we have seen, control need is a matter of self-control (I: the behavioral problem) as well as of circumstantial control (I: the situational problem – into which the behavioral problem may be folded … and lost).

What the unending succession of “F=>NF” says is that not only must we deal with the fact of an NF/F>1 ratio, we must deal with the probability that the discrepancy between NF and F will increase … that the gap between control need and control capacity capability will widen — and will surely deepen for lack of attention to the behavioral problem. Education, formal and informal, pays more attention to functionality, especially late-stage functionality (C-97), than to needed functionality (C-111: Realization), to learning than to knowing (XI).

We are pouring far too much investment, relatively, into sustaining (0:Sp) and deciding (C-98) from among previous solutions. This even though these solutions bring a burden of new situational problems with them (0:Ps), such as vexing anthropogenic changes (e.g., linguistic technologies and the need to define terms, energy production technology and global warming), adding to the control gap.

How then are we to close the gap – or at least keep the gap manageable? Situational problems are going to increase in number and severity just on the basis of the progress we have made.
What are we to do? Some answers are not very good solutions. For example:
  • ADOPT something and follow its lead … to its, and our, end;
  • Vote for a change – not any particular change, just a change;
  • Simplify one’s situations … and life;
  • Withdraw: super-simplify – and end — one’s life.
One other answer stands out: We can do more, individually and collectively, to increase our functionality by separating the shared behavioral problem from the many, often unshared, particular situational problems (the bane of collective decision making) … and then working on that behavioral problem now that guiding principles are available (i.e., the Nature of Things’ general persisting conditions and their consequent behavioral requisites and imperatives) and working on the now feasible productive interdependence of union (C-112). Solving the behavioral problem will make solving situational problems easier.

Realization is the path forward to any solution … any solution that is not forfeit to the restricted choice of already available solutions. A glance at our quality of life and its many unsolved problems (0) should be Tell enough for us to take the R-path.


An interesting “design” question arises here, one with which we can expand on our discussion of “What Darwin missed” (C-38):

If: Needed functionality increases with gains in functionality;
And if the Nature of Things (III: Partial order, consequentiality and [BE] discontinuity) makes applicable the principles (requisites and imperatives) of behavioral necessity;

And if CEM history (App. XI, App. XVI) obtains, such that functionality (step making and taking) shows continuing contingent emergent materiality (i.e., a process of Realization [App. XIX; C-107, C-111]);

And if step is independent of, but interdependent with, body (III, XI);


The step => body component of the step body interdependence will have a “design” effect;

And this “design” effect will grow, and grow faster, as CEM-history advances and functionality grows (i.e., as composition becomes more and more of a developed capability)?

(Such that toward the frontier of CEM-history, design found in Realization’s particular cognitive ó communicative (i.e., compositional) particular products will be readily apparent. This unlike earlier CEM-history wherein geology’s fossil record and biological products are revealing of body but not so much of step and step-body interdependence, where design as needed functionality is overlooked despite what is generally called for by the Nature of Things [a self-control imperative, the behavioral problem as part of the control imperative for behavioral entities {VI}]. “Design” is an R-word [C-107.] The CEM-history of collisions shows an increasing Frontier regard for, and amount of, arranged approach-avoidance behavior – i.e., of composed [aka designed] steps.)

The implications for theories about the human species (C-38) are obvious. Especially for humans as behavioral entities, for it is in humans that the interdependence of body and step is most apparent (C-3) – e.g., as in recipes’ ingredients and procedures, and in the scripts, scores and choreographies made by composers that,as step technologies,provide steps for performance by bodies (individual artists and artistic companies). Evolution is secure as historical fact (C-20), but weak and bloated as concept, and as theory more incomplete summary than explanation – and thus of less use in the future where materiality has to be realized via functionality still to be developed … i.e., in life AT and IN the Frontier (App. XVI; C-118, C-121).

Design, like art a compositional phenomenon, is thus a huge Tell. And one thing it says is that humanity’s future will increasingly depend on the knowledge we gain from what we try to do, guided by before-the-fact principles derived from the Nature of Things (Everything’s generalities) and not just by after-the-fact principles derived from the particular things of nature (some of which are yet to emerge) … and not just from the knowledge we gain from discovery of things as they were or are (C-93)– or as expressed in practices and stories.


Then too, there is a question about beginnings, especially human beginnings. In our familiar minding mode of late-stage functionality characterization (C-114: e.g., “person who”), an agency possessed of sourcing capability comes to mind. (Or failing that, a matter simply of chance – but this hardly conforms to the evident historical fact of contingent emergent materiality [CEM].)

However, if we take the stream of CEM-history backwards, past species evolution, in terms of “NF … f … nf … f … nf  … f … nf … f’… nf …”

where NF, needed functionality, is the initiating general consequence of the Nature of Things’ general persisting conditions (GPC) of partial order, consequentiality and discontinuity for bodies (in cognizance of collisions);

f is a particular step taking capacity (later f’s may be a capability, and/or a capacity <-> capability, re making steps as well – i.e., comprising minding’s composing capability);

nf is some particular needed functionality thus occasioned;

f’ is a late-stage functionality, such as what we now focus on as an agency property ….

….then our question is: What if the first “f” was a non-agency behavioral condition (e.g.,light,wind, current, heat … and/or pressure attributable to collision conditions engendered by the Nature of Things’ GPC?

Stirring the B pot – i.e.,this is not just the matter of body relationships; it’s also a matter of body-step relationships. Material (an R-word [C-107]), which both body and step are, is what matters (another R-word). The stirred pot elicits other behavioral conditions (physics’ attraction-repulsion; chemistry’s valenced combinations; biology’s [“botany’s”] photosynthesis – which will trigger multi-step body capacities and then “f=>nf” will kick in with steps taken and more then with steps made to be taken by behavioral entities).

(On the methodological principle of uniformitarianism, we can extend the arc of CEM-history’s body-step materiality to the beginning and/or to the end of history. And from their mutual transformability [mass to energy, energy to mass] to their interdependence in composed body-step structures, as seen in Union. Consider too, then, the potential Tells of “dark matter” and “dark energy,” both of which pertain to conditions that have been demonstrated to be of consequence. Which is to say, they are material. Suppose then we mind them from a Frontier perspective [C-118], as B-material and S-material, respectively. And then we might just view them as un-Realized materiality. And then, perhaps, to pay more attention to the Frontier and to SB Realization and our future? [See C-126.])

(c) R.F. Carter