RE: Replicators

Robin Wood (
Fri, 13 Jun 1997 19:23:10 +0100

From: Robin Wood <>
To: "''" <>
Subject: RE: Replicators
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 1997 19:23:10 +0100

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Agreed- read John Holland's book "Hidden Order" (1995)- a great
introduction to the subject. Or come to one of our seminars later this
year (see HTML doc below)


-----Original Message-----
From: Mario Vaneechoutte []
Sent: 13 June 1997 21:35
Subject: Re: Replicators

Robin Wood wrote:
> Would complex adaptive systems theory not cover many of the issues
> need to achieve such a synthesis?

Although this is another theory I've never heard of, it sounds like
could. Shannon information theory, memetics, cybernetics, complex
adaptive systems theory, genetics, ...: we are heading somewhere.
there is so much redundancy that only a giant brain (yes, even much
giant than that of Timothy!) can take the essence out of it.
activity is such a brain (or a mind which emphasizes better the
process), and the real answers are starting to come out. You can see
on this list.
We all want to accelerate this process. How should we proceed to

We should first try to agree on some basics. We should first try to
rid of confusing definitions which make people think they think about
the same subject while they are not.

A possible solution is to split up in small groups discussing a very
limited area and having these groups reporting to each other on
intervals (as such avoiding that the different groups grow way out
each other as has happened with the different disciplines in science
which is the reason why so many people on this list rightfully claim
to understand the jargon or each others jargon). That would also
overload of messages. Again, I refer again to Luc Claeys, who claims
that brains and organisations work by temporary isolation of subunits
with regular getting together again to exchange new findings and to
check their knowledge versus that of the other subunits.

Indeed, when you discuss like on a mailing list, threads diverge,
redund (?) and the process of acquiring knowledge is random and may
lead to structured knowledge. We are having nothing but a coffee
talk here, starting with an accident which happened yesterday and
with quantum physics or with discussing the weather, depending on who
spoke loudest and on which jokes attracted attention.

The initial reason for this journal was to avoid freewheeling like on
alt.memetics. Although I consider the discussions here at a far
level, still what we lack is structure.

> Dr Robin Wood
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mark_M_Mills []
> Sent: 11 June 1997 19:47
> To:
> Subject: Re: Replicators
> Mario,
> >The only replicator on Earth today is the cell: the cell is a
> >which can reassemble something similar.
> Looking at this from a process orientation, cells replicate when
> environmental conditions are correct. In other words, when
> 'resources' are
> ample and 'refuse' really leaves. The required participants in the
> process
> are
> 1. replicator
> 2. resources
> 3. refuse acceptors
> 4. buffered 'ground state' which is relatively stable despite the
> replicator's consumption of resources and deposit of refuse.
> The names only make sense one identifies the 'main character' in
> process. Each element is a sub-process of the circular chain.
> element is a process with somewhat vague boundaries. Each element
> a
> potential 'replicator.' If we pick 'cells' as replicators, we are
> forced
> to acknowledge that 'cells' consume 'cells' for resources. Also,
> have
> 'cells' process their refuse. The resource and refuse cells are
> replicators. A close look at the 'ground state' environment shows
> to be
> more of the same chain.
> The confusion is cased with these process oriented labels become
> 'things'
> instead of 'processes.' Thus, users of process oriented vocabulary
> need to
> take care or the flexibility of the terms quickly turns the world
> upside
> down. Dawkins (consciously or unconsciously) plays this trick on
> readers by calling DNA (a thing), a replicator (a process). I
> the
> linguistic trick works (and sells a lot of books) due to the
> semi-mystical
> powers the general public ascribe to the 'black box' we know as
> It seems to me that from the process orientation, we can see many
> classes
> of replicators. I suspect one could make a good case that this
> could
> replicate if the right process was found to divert traffic into two
> 'concept' areas.
> >Genes cannot do that, neither memes. Genes and memes are
> Right. Genes and memes are 'things,' not processes. At least, that
> how
> I use the terms.
> >Indeed, I think it is possible to construct a single framework for
> genetics,
> >cybernetics and memetics when considering things from an
> point
> of view.
> I think this is a great goal. One of the interesting things about
> Shannon
> Information Theory is the relationship between high entropy and
> information states. Thus, as time proceeds and entropy increases,
> information increases as well. Life, an information processes
> activity,
> grows into this ever increasing information ecosystem.
> >Many more possibilities and insights arise when we push back the
> >border further towards an information centered world view.
> >Considering life as a single giant process and getting rid of the
> gene
> >replicator, meme replicator paradigm could already help a lot.
> Agreed.
> Mark

I even hadn't read these useful remarks of Mark.

Mario Vaneechoutte

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Applying the New Sciences to Organisations & = Management:

A MasterClass Presented by:

Dr Robin L Wood

Co-founder = & Managing Director of Genetic Systems Ltd

Co-founder & Director of the Plexis = Institute

Author & Consultant


Dr Uri Merry

Co-founder = & Director of the Applied Social Research and OD Institute

Founding member & Director of The Institute of = Organizational and Social Consultation

Author & Consultant


Darwin=92s = "dangerous idea", evolution, has revolutionised the way in which we = understand the origins of life and the nature of the human species. = Complexity theory is currently changing the way in which we think = about nature and the complex adaptive systems we form part of. = Cognitive science enables us to explain how intelligence and = consciousness arise, and why mind tools such as cultures, computers, = icons and management fads are useful.

Management has always reflected the zeitgeist of = its time: Taylor applied Newton=92s "clockwork universe" = to work, while Tom Peters exemplifies the post-modern, = relativistic way of looking at things. The approach to organizations = which has guided us in the Industrial era is however, no longer suitable = to organisations in the Knowledge era. The new sciences of Complex = Adaptive Systems, Self-organization, Chaos & Fractals throw light on = the factors which allow an organization to thrive, be adaptive & = sustainable under conditions of growing complexity & = uncertainty.

This seminar aims to demonstrate how today=91s = managers can:

Participants will learn how the new sciences are = revolutionising the way we understand organizations & management. = They will explore practical new ways of managing organisations and = making strategy. Together, Dr. Robin Wood & Dr. Uri Merry will = share their knowledge and experience of the insights, understandings, = approaches, tools and techniques emerging in this field.

The seminar is a facilitated event combining = presentation and small group dialogue. The number of participants at = each seminar is limited in order to maximise learning and discussion. = This workshop has been designed to provide an environment and process = likely to lead to the emergence of breakthroughs. Following each = presentation participants will apply the learning to their particular = circumstances & their organizations.

You are invited to join us in a stimulating = learning environment where you will be supported in transforming your = own understanding of the principles which underpin the new world of = management. Take a look at the seminar roadmap and key issues addressed = on the next page to see why you should not miss one of the most exciting = management events this year.



Applying the New Sciences to Organisations & Management: Seminar = Roadmap





Overview & Personal = Introductions


Setting Individual Learning = Objectives


Overview - The revolution of the New = Sciences

& The organization as a Complex Adaptive System


Organizational sustainability in the = 21st Century


Organizational renewal through = Self-organization


Organizational learning as a = knowledge creating system


Functioning effectively at the edge = of chaos


Building an energizing fractal = network structure



Practicing strategic co-evolution = with the environment: mapping business ecosystems and strategic = landscapes


Applying all this to your = organization


Individual Learning Sessions on = Approaches, Tools & Techniques


Setting the Learning Agenda beyond = the Seminar


Seminar Review & = Close



Key Issues Covered in the = Seminar


  1. What are the basic = discoveries of each of the New Sciences and what is the significance = they have for us in management and changing organizations?
  2. What is the old paradigm in management and how is the new = paradigm of management and organisations different?
  3. What are the most interesting or useful principles of the new = sciences/ paradigm which might be applicable to the worlds of = Business, Management, Strategy, Communities and Organisations?
  4. Which challenges facing organisations are most urgent? Most = important? How do the new sciences address these challenges?
  5. What are the most interesting /potentially fruitful application = domains in which the new sciences/paradigm might be applied? = Which tools and techniques which apply one or more aspects of the = new sciences/paradigm?
  6. What personal development challenges does the new = science/paradigm present to you and your colleagues?
  7. What would it be like to apply the new science/paradigm in your = organisation or in an organisation you have been/might become = associated with?
  8. What are the outstanding examples of the application of the new = science/ paradigm in an organisational context? What were the = success factors?


Seminar Leaders & = Facilitators



Dr Robin Wood-

B Comm LLB Dip IFM PhD (London Business School)


Dr Wood = co-founded Genesys and acts as its managing director. He = trained as an economist and lawyer before co-founding a merchant bank in = South Africa for Citicorp in 1982. He then headed = Strategic Planning for TrustBank, from where he joined = PA Consulting in 1986 as a senior consultant. In 1988 = Robin moved to become head of marketing and planning for the BIS = Group with some 2 300 consultants around the world. In 1990 Robin = started his own consulting firm, which led to him becoming deputy = managing director of Idon (idea+icon) Associates between 1992 and 1994, = out of which Genesys emerged. Robin has been writing about complexity, = evolution and complex systems in business for a number of years, and has = experimented with applications of the cognitive and complexity sciences = in business for the past five years, with companies such as 3M, = HP, Shell, Unilever and Jardine Pacific. Dr Wood has = authored:

Robin is now involved in building The = Plexis Institute, which is devoted to increasing the = understanding and application of the new sciences in organisations and = management around the world.


Dr. Uri Merry-

BA (Magna Cum Laude) PhD (UCLA)


Dr Merry = has over thirty years experience as an organizational consultant with a = large variety of businesses and organizations, including the high-tech = industry, financial institutions, military command, government = departments and community leaders. Uri has taught in university and = colleges, lectured widely, given workshops and trained many managers and = consultants. He has published about 150 articles, authored & = coauthored five books:

For the last five years Uri has been devoting his = time & energy to applying the New Sciences to human systems, = organizations & management.



What Former Seminar = Participants Say About:


"Applying The New Sciences To = Organizations

& Management"


Thanks for a = great seminar! Please hold more workshops like this!

Not only gave me new ideas to = think about, but will make me change my schemas

Gives me new ways to think about = what I will be doing

I will have to reexamine all I = know about the world, organizations, my work and myself as a human = being

Very informative and = thought provoking

I want to = re-examine my work in change consultation

Generated new = understandings

Gave plenty of splendid = ideas both to apply practically and to think about.

It gave me a framework to = change aspects of my life.

Lots to think = about & deepened my understanding of a complex subject

Provided a means to = synthesize a lot of my readings

I now have much better = understanding of how the new sciences are useful

Brought a greater = clarity to my understanding of the new science.

Stimulated my curiosity and = desire to experiment with application. The linkages of the theory to = application was very clear to me

Best interpretation of = current information, clear and passionate I liked the richness of ideas = and their interconnection. Excellent!

Wonderful, thank you = for being here and sharing your knowledge

Outstanding. It=92s = the future. It pushed me into chaos. Amazing, profound important work = for a conference like this

Excellent real world examples = to help with concepts A superb way to present clearly a very difficult = subject

This was the best session I = attended. Well done. I could do three more days in this workshop (for = starters).

This is where we are = going to and it is very exciting.

Outstanding timely = information.

Essential to growth of = business/organizations.



Seminar Registration Form

Applying the New Sciences in Organisations


Dates: 3 & 4 September 1997

Complete your full details below and mail together with your = payment.



Job Title





Phone Number

Fax number



Times 0900 to 1800 on both days


Venue The Genesys Centre

Apartment 1,

77 Carter Lane, London EC4

0171 329 8288

Fee The = attendance fee is =A3495 plus VAT at 17.5%. This includes:


The fee does NOT include accommodation. The official presentation/ = documentation language is English.


Method of Payment

 Payable prior to the seminar, by cheque, = negotiable in the UK and made payable to Genetic Systems Ltd.

If a cheque is not possible, then send us an electronic funds = transfer or banker=92s draft to Genetic Systems Ltd at the Midland Bank, = St Paul=92s Churchyard Branch, London EC4V, UK, Sort Code 400503, = Account number 8131 0496.

Genetic = Systems Ltd. reserves the right to alter any part of the published = programme. We will try to ensure that the programme as altered is = comparable with the published format.


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