Context (constraints) dependence

The behavior/structure of the system represented by one or several state variables depends on the context. Context consists of some key constraints of the system’s components and the environment within which it is embedded. For example, properties of atoms in forming molecules, properties of people in forming social relations or properties of cells in forming tissues are constraints that form the context. The water molecule (H2O) has the properties it has because it is composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. A molecule that has also two hydrogen atoms but one sulfur atom (H2S) has different properties and has characteristic smell of rotten eggs.

Hence, properties of individual components constrain the interactions (couplings) between them and influence the collective properties of the composites they form. In similar vein, people with different personalities or habits interact differently and form social groups with different properties and different cells form tissues with different properties and functions. Hence the interactions (bonds/couplings) depend very much on the properties of components. Couplingsbonds make system’s integrity.  These interactions form networks with different structures. These network structures form an important part of the context. For example, neural, hormonal and metabolic networks are important context forming constraints on our thoughts and behavior.

Environmental context is composed of environmental constraints impinging on the system. In physical systems they may be the temperature, radiation, pressure or power input etc., in social systems the economic ambience or ethnic and supporter polarization.  A universal role that context plays in the behavior of systems is that it may destabilize the previously stable state and produce a spontaneous rearrangement of system’s components into another ordered behavior/structure. This is called a phase transition. It is the context (a network of component properties, their interactions and internal and external perturbations) that make system’s behavior or structure stable or unstable.

Context decides whether the behavior will persist, how much it will persist or how quickly it will decay and switch to some other more persistent behavior. Context dependent stability explains why some football teams cannot stably play in Barca style, or even why Barca cannot play like Barca sometimes, why old habits die hard, why wormholes are still not possible to be constructed, and why idea(l)s of global social peace, justice and prosperity are either wiped out at their inception or their practice becomes their own distorted antipode. The context generates the stability of the solution, i.e. behavior, be it social idea(l), a football playing style, a habit, or a cosmic object.

Robert Hristovski 26.07.2016