Afternoon with Kent Palmer

Scott Virden Anderson Blog

Enjoyed a six hour visit with Kent last Saturday at his home in Orange.  We came up with some important links between his work and my Subjectoscope — main one having to do with the three types of self-organizing systems that we’ve both been fascinated by for many years — dissipative, autopoeitic, and reflexive.

(His extensive book on the subject, “Reflexive Autopoietic Dissipative Special Systems Theory,” is now posted at

Kent has discovered that there is a distinct type of algebra for each of the three and I suggested over lunch that they might each predominate in a “separate” region of the SummaTime Scale (STS):

Dissipative systems are clearly descriptive for cosmic evolution — as Eric Chaisson has explored extensively in his very mainstream work.
Maybe autopoietic systems predominate in the central region of the STS that I’ve associated with electromagnetism.
Kent suggested over lunch that he seemed to recall seeing a quaternion formulation of electromagnetism — quaternions being the algebra he has associated with the autopoietic special systems.
After I got home monday nite I discovered that Maxwell’s original papers on EM used the quaternion algebra and it looks as though Maxwell created such a flap with the complexity (nowadays referred to as HYPERcomplexity) of this original formulation that he and later folks (Gibbs & Heaviside, among others) simplified the original equations in such a way as to LEAVE OUT key elements of electromagnetism — elements that some people think might allow us to comprehend what Tesla was up to, how “free energy devices” might work, and what biological “subtle energy” IS!
At least these are some of the impressions I get after a number of hours looking into this, reading some of Tom Bearden’s (very non-mainstream) site, and a couple of papers Kent forwarded.
Integrating all this into an “ISSSEEM version” of the SScope for the ’08 meeting — a project I’ve started since connecting with Norm Shealy and based on his proposal a few weeks ago — will likely take “heavy lifting” that I’m not well qualified for — but I’ll see how far I can take it…
Then there is still those pesky octonions to work out — the only connection I’ve made here so far with the Quantian to Planckian region and the reflexive special systems are that according to John Baez the octonions have found some application in string theory (which deals with the “quantum gravity” region of reality that I place in the Q-P zone).  (Readers of Kent’s opus referenced above will find some discussion of how the octonion seems to picture a tetrahedron with internally mirrored sides suggesting a “reflexive” system).