Why a brain is self-organizing has not yet explained convincingly. I am trying to use the concept of entropy to show it.
Entropy is the level of order of a system. An intelligent behavior of a system should be defined as a procedure or course that tries to decrease the entropy of the system or keep the entropy from increasing. Strictly speaking, a piece of elementary mechanism can make its environment more orderly by energy transfer which is so-called energy consumption, but it can not make itself more orderly than its existing organization. A brain is different and it can organize itself more orderly. So a brain is not like a machine as many AI people deem.
Entropy can qualify and quantify the organized level of a system that has mass members. With it, we can better understand, predict and figure out not only the interplay in a system, but also the vectors of its actions on and interplay of energy/mass flow/osmosis/exchange with other systems or its environment.
A brain is a very system with mass cells or neurons. I think entropy is one of the good ways to help understand brain functions such as values, rules, etc. that operate and orient the behaviors of a life body.
The tools, machines and programs we have made can be used to deal with precise problems, but to deal with fuzzy problems needs brain intelligence. The advance of science and technology let many of us deem arrogantly that we can make machines (non-AL) to deal with fuzzy problems.
Fuzziness is the state between chaos and order. Theoretically, the fuzziness of a system can be regarded, with mathematics and physics, as a situation that some parts of a system are chaotic and the other parts of it are orderly. Fuzziness is a frequent experience of our live. We often know what will happen in a high level prediction, but we can not use rules to make precise calculation and prediction. Fuzziness does not allow us to design the exact behaviors of an AI.
Up to now, only brains can or try to distinguish these parts by consciousness instead of by mathematical and physical analysis. This seems to be the mystery of brains.
The magic of brains resides in the capacity to deal with fuzzy problems. Brains do not depend on rules in unraveling fuzziness, and not think in a way of calculation of mathematics and physics, either. This brain capacity rests with its consciousness that makes fuzziness an easy job.
In my theory, only consciousness has the ability to choose rules, i.e. intelligence. AI is something man-made with consciousness. To be more exact, AI is AL with mind. We can infer that digital simulation can not produce intelligence.
Knowledge is rules including natural laws disentangled by consciousness and embedded in brain unconsciousness. We know, with intention, some of it only when it appears consciously.
Energy and mass flow in a system can cause the changes of the pattern and level of orderliness of its organization and the state of its members. If the "flow" is caused by the change of the state of some members of the system and can cause other members to change their state, the net pattern of such flow is the software in the system. The net in brains is synapses, which is the most critical part of neural-nets. The net of passages and gates of electrical current of signals is the software of computers.
When a system interacts with its environment by energy and mass transfer and exchange, the energy flow or stream at the interface can influence the state of its members or elements and the order of the system.
In a system of a certain order or unevenness, small flow can greatly influence the function or behaviors of the system. The more orderly the system is, the greater influence the flow or stream has on the system. We usually call this sort of flow signals or information. The interface of a life is sense organs.
However, this sort of energy flow at the interface of a system at a very low level of order has little influence on the system. In other words, there is little difference between powers and signals in the transfer and exchange at interface in this case.
In a system of neural-nets, unconsciousness is the state of order or the state of unevenness of the system and keeps responses to the order of environment.
Consciousness is the state of fuzziness of the system or the process of responses to the fuzzy signals at interface to reach a new order.
Brain workings are trying to have its elements response in an order to the information flow or stream.
When a part of memory of unconsciousness comes into consciousness, the system will behave an attention. At this time, a local part of the system turns from a state of order into a state of fuzziness. This adjusts the system to be sensitive to receive and process the fuzzy information within the scope of the rules of unconsciousness. Attention is the re-process and re-memorizing of a part of unconsciousness. It is the regurgitation and continuation of self-organizing of a system, and the result of going from order to fuzziness, i.e. from unconsciousness to consciousness.
Attention is the key precondition of fuzzy discrimination. The question is why and how a system turns a part of itself from a state of order to a state of fuzziness.
As for this, I have said several times in my other articles that attention takes place when unconsciousness is unable to process the information received.
This explanation does not show how consciousness or thinking takes place. I believe thinking is the process of self-organizing of a system to a higher order. Consciousness is the result of memory of this process.
Consciousness is fuzzy itself. Consciousness can deal with fuzzy parts of things but it can not deal with its own fuzziness or consciousness. A difficult question: Can consciousness be conscious of?