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football fan | Marseille 2016

Rules, or laws, have no causal efficacy; they do not in fact “generate” anything. They serve merely to describe regularities and consistent relationships in nature. These patterns may be very illuminating and important, but the underlying causal agencies must be separately specified (though often they are not). But that aside, the game of football illustrates … why any laws or rules of emergence and evolution are insufficient. Even in a football game, you cannot use the rules to predict “history” — i.e., the course of any given game. Indeed, you cannot even reliably predict the next pass in a football game. Why? Because the “system” involves more than the rules of the game. It also includes the players and the supporters and their unfolding, moment-by-moment decisions among a very large number of available options at each choice point. The game of football is inescapably historical, even though it is also constrained and shaped by a set of rules, not to mention the laws of physics. Moreover, and this is a key point, the game of football is also shaped by teleonomic, cybernetic, feedback-driven influences. It is not simply a self-ordered process; it involves an organized, “purposeful” activity — Peter Kopning

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