The Technium: Upcreation – Kevin Kelly


The Technium: Upcreation


Vanishing Muslims and the Shift to Africa
The Arc of Complexity

Upcreation is my term for the peculiar, profound, and still mysterious way by which complex structures appear in the universe. By complex structures I mean galaxies, stars, planets, life, DNA, termite mounds, rain forests, human minds, and the internet. These complexities tend to “emerge” from simpler systems (clouds of gas, pools of molecules, nodes of communication) in a fashion we broadly call self-organization. But in the right circumstances self-organization can often also be legitimately called self-creation. Without an outside agent, the parts cohere into a new organization that brings forth an “emergent” level or self not present before. Since the new emergent level of complexity encompasses, without destruction, the previous “lower” levels of organization, I call this self-creation of higher levels “upcreation.” A set of entities lifts itself up to a new level of organization in a new entity. By this perspective, DNA chemistry “upcreates” life, and life upcreates minds, and a mind might upcreate a supermind. Upcreation takes place in smaller increments as well: Honey bees upcreate a hive, protists upcreate multicellular organisms, corals upcreate a reef, shoppers upcreate a market, web surfers upcreate Google PageRank.

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The Technium: Upcreation