The potential for emergence is pregnant with that which emerges from it, even if as pure potential, lest emergence would be just a gobbledygook of abstraction and obscurity. Some aspects of emergence harness more potential or even more intensity in emergence. What would intensity mean here? Emergence in its most abstract form is described by differentiation, which is the perseverance of differing by extending itself into the world. Thus intensity or potentiality would be proportional to intensity/quality, and degree/quantity of differentiation. The obvious question is the origin of this differentiation. This comes through what has already been actualized, thus putting forth a twist. The twist is in potential being not just abstract, but also relative. Abstract, because potential can come to mean anything other than what it has a potential for, and relative, since, it is dependent upon intertwining within which it can unfold. So, even if intensity for the potential of emergence is proportional to differentiation, an added dimension of meta-differentiation is introduced that not only deals with the intensity of the potential emergence it actualizes, but also in turn the potential, which, its actualization gives rise to. This complexification of emergence is termed complexity.
Complexity is that by which emergence intertwines itself with intensity, thus laden with potentiality itself. This, in a way, could mean that complexity is a sort of meta-emergence, in that, it contains potential for the emergence of greater intensity of emergence. This implies that complexity and emergence require each other’s presence to co-exist and co-evolve. If emergence is, by which, complexity manifests itself in actuality in the world, then complexity is, by which, emergence surfaces as potential through intertwining. Where would Deleuze and Guattari fit in here? This is crucial, since complexity for the said thinkers is different from the way it has been analyzed above. And let us note where the difference rests. To have to better cope with the ideas of Deleuze and Guattari, it is mandated to invite Manuel De Landa with his intense reading of the thinkers in question. The point is proved in these words of John Protevi,
According to Manuel DeLanda, in the late 60s, Gilles Deleuze began to formulate some of the philosophical significance of what is now sometimes referred to as “chaos/complexity theory,” the study of “open” matter/energy systems which move from simple to complex patterning and from complex to simple patterning. Though not a term used by contemporary scientists in everyday work (“non-linear dynamics” is preferred), it can be a useful term for a collection of studies of phenomena whose complexity is such that Laplacean determinism no longer holds beyond a limited time and space scale. Thus the formula of chaos/complexity might be “short-term predictability, long-term unpredictability.
Here, potentiality is seen as creative for philosophy within materialism. An expansion on the notion of unity through assemblages of multiple singularities is on the cards, that facilitate the dislodging of anthropocentric view points, since such views are at best limited, with over-insistence on the rationale of world as a stable and solid structure. The solidity of structures is to be rethought in terms that open vistas for potential creation. The only way out to accomplish this is in terms of liquid structures that are always vulnerable to chaos and disorder considered a sine qua non for this creative potential to emerge. In this liquidity, De Landa witnesses the power to self-organize and further, the ability to form an ethics of sorts, one untouched by human static control, and which allows an existence at the edge of creative, flowing chaos. Such a position is tangible in history as a confluence of infinite variations, a rationale that doesn’t exist when processes are dynamic, thus wanting history to be rooted in materialism of a revived form. Such a history is one of flowing articulations not determined by linear and static constructions, but by infinite bifurcations, of the liquid unfolding, thus exposing a collective identity from a myriad of points and perspectives. This is complexity for Deleuze and Guattari, which enables a re-look at material systems through their powers of immanent autopoiesis or self-organization.