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Recursive science fiction

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Recursive science fiction is a subgenre of science fiction, which itself takes the form of an exploration of science fiction within the narrative of the story.

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  • ✪ A Scientific Explanation of the Human Mind | Daniel Siegel
  • ✪ Stepping Through Recursive Fibonacci Function
  • ✪ Fibonacci Programming - Computerphile


One aspect of the mind, beyond subjective experience, consciousness, maybe even information processing, these are facets of the mind that are good descriptions, let's just put those to the side for now. This fourth facet of the mind has a definition, not just a description. This facet of the mind can be defined this way: the emergent self-organizing embodied and relational process that regulates the flow of energy and information. And if we take that apart step-by-step we can see that the system we're talking about is called a complex system, that means it's open to influences from outside of itself, it's capable of being chaotic and it's non-linear meaning small inputs have large and difficult to predict results. When you have those three characteristics math says that system is a complex system. And once we're in the realm of complex systems we find that these complex systems have what are called emergent properties, the interaction of the elements of the system give rise to these properties that cannot be reduced to the singular elements that are interactions give rise to them. The notion that complex systems have emergent properties is sometimes responded to by various scientists or even the general public as very confusing, sometimes even ridiculous. What I do in the book Mind is I actually put some quotes from some scientists who actually see emergence as not only a scientific property of complex systems but as a necessary way of understanding what it is that emergence, for example, why clouds have the beautiful ways that they unfold across the sky. That's an emergent property of water molecules and air molecules that form of the clouds and the emergent property there is self-organization that's determining how it unfolds. So when you come to the emergent property of self-organization then you also get people saying well that just doesn't feel right, it doesn't feel intuitive and I totally share that initial response. Self-organization has a strange reality where number one, as an emergent property it's the interaction of the elements of the system, in this case energy and information flow that is giving rise to it that's what an emergent property means. It can't be reduced to the singular elements. But as a self-organizing emergent property it means it's arising from something, that's the emergent part, but then it's turning back and regulating that from which it is arising, which is completely non-intuitive. That's called a recursive feature. Recursive means it has a feedback loop, it a feedback system, it feeds back on itself. So even there as I'm speaking to you I'm doing an assessment of what's going on I say feedbacks, no it's feeds back. So, what that means is that arising from the system is self-organization, it then regulates the interaction of the elements of the system so that self-organization is then continuingly influencing itself, which is completely the counter intuitive. So here's the amazing thing, it's a proven property of our universe that complex systems have this recursive property to it. It's probably why people have not really gone to these emergent properties because especially self-organization it's not intuitive. The second reason I think people haven't gone here is because this definition of the mind as the emergent self-organizing embodied and relational process that regulates the flow of energy information is placing the mind in "two places at once", within your body and between you and other people and you and the planet. So this irritates people because first of all many people point to their head when they talk about their mind and they place the mind inside the skull. Fine. But even if you kept the mind only inside the skin encased body you'd feel okay with the word embodied and many people do. However, once you say it's both embodied and relational you get into this really interesting new way of thinking because you say how could one thing, mind, be both within and between in two places? Well, here's a way to think about it: our fundamental element we're proposing is energy and information flow. Now, if you think about that the skull nor the skin are impermeable boundaries for energy and information to flow. So you may think of them as two places but it's one system, energy and information flow, and it's happening in many different locations.



In the book Resnick at Large, authors Mike Resnick and Robert J. Sawyer describe recursive science fiction as, "science fiction about science fiction".[1] In the work, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders, Gary Westfahl comments, "Recursive fantasy fiction – that is, a fantasy about writing fantasy – is scarce;"[2] one potential example of recursive fantasy, however, would be Patrick Rothfuss' The Kingkiller Chronicle.


Mike Resnick and Robert J. Sawyer cite Typewriter in the Sky by L. Ron Hubbard as an example of recursive science fiction.[1] Barry N. Malzberg's novel Herovit's World, about a hack science-fiction writer's struggle with the protagonist of his novels, is another. Gary Westfahl writes, "Luigi Pirandello's play Six Characters in Search of an Author (1921) offered a non-genre model."[2] Westfahl noted that Hubbard's book was "an early genre example, perhaps inspired by Pirandello".[2]

Films under the subgenre include Time After Time (1979) and The Time Machine (2002). In Time After Time, H. G. Wells, who wrote The Time Machine, is fictionally portrayed as an inventor of an actual time machine. In the 2002 film The Time Machine, the story by the real-life Wells serves as inspiration for the film's protagonist to invent a time machine.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b Resnick, Mike; Robert J. Sawyer (2003). Resnick at Large. Wildside Press. p. 180. ISBN 1-59224-160-3.
  2. ^ a b c Westfahl, Gary (2005). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders'. Greenwood. p. 250; Volume 2. ISBN 0-313-32952-4.
  3. ^ Williams, Keith (2008). H.G. Wells, Modernity and the Movies. Liverpool University Press. p. 135.

External links

This page was last edited on 8 January 2018, at 12:33
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