Emergence and epiphenomena (3)

Salinas17 at aol.com Salinas17 at aol.com
Fri Mar 3 04:14:23 UTC 2006

In a message dated 3/2/06 5:18:53 AM, lists at chaoticlanguage.com writes:
<< What is the single "rule of movement" for these gliders, Steve? >>

What is the single rule of movement for a real glider or an airplane wing?  
Do we somehow claim that all the variables mean that there's no way to explain 
a real glider's movement?

The only uncontrolled variable in the the original Game of Life is the 
initial pattern.  The rules entirely dictate every change of state after that -- 
that cells will either be filled, unfilled or remain the same at each turn, 
entirely dependent on the status of adjacent cells.  Three adjacent cells are 
needed to fill a new cell that creates the impression of "movement" in any 

I haven't played the game in years -- but I know that a starting pattern for 
a basic glider alone will produce the same results every time, with exactly 
the same periodicity.  From the same spot it will always "move" along the same 
three adjacent diagonal paths adding cells in the same proportion as the empty 
cells behind it.  (These gliders always move diagonally because of that need 
of proximity of exactly 3 cells to create the appearance of movement.)  It is 
totally predictable.

To create a south-east bound glider, starting at 0 on the grid (away from a 
border), simply fill in Row 1 Col1, Row2 Col2&3, Row3 Col 1&2.  By the GOL 
rules of adjacency, the 2d generation MUST be Row 1Col2, Row2 Col3, Row3 Col 
2,3&4, the 3rd gen MUST be Row 1Col3, Row2 Col 1&3, Row 3 Col 2&3, and the fourth 
gen MUST go back to the original pattern except all live cells are now one 
column over.  And EVERY 4th generation the original pattern repeats itself over 
and over again "moving" a column in those exact same amt of turns into infinity. 
 THAT is the law of "movement" you are asking for -- the patterns must follow 
the rules of the game -- there is no variation in it.

There is NOTHING random or mysterious about this.  It's simply a systematic 
filling and unfilling of cells in the same ways over and over again in the 
direction that the adjacency rules dictate.  And it is highly regular.   The 
particular rules make this particular set of patterns recur -- in other versions of 
GOL rules this pattern does not create gliders and they do not "move."  This 
means the independent variables come from the rules of the original GOL and 
they entirely motivate this pattern shape of the glider -- if you started only 
with the glider and its movement, you should be able to derive the fundamental 
rules of the game without knowing them beforehand.

<<These rules are the same whatever the system does. They are not movement 

Gravity is the same no matter what it affects.  However it effects "movement" 
in some things and not others.  In that, the law of gravity and the rules of 
GOL are exactly alike.  Not all patterns move.  But when they do, it's the 
rules that dictate the movement.

<<Isn't it a contradiction to say the behavior of the system is governed by 
rules, but you have "no idea" what causes the behavior of the system?>>

Not if you see a pattern disappear into chaos and then see the exact same 
pattern re-appear.  Unless there is something supernatural going on, it simply 
means we cannot perceive the process, not that it's not there.  Any other 
explanation IS supernatural.

Steve Long 

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