Page Created: 7/29/2014   Last Modified: 3/9/2016   Last Generated: 5/6/2024

I try to be careful with my use of the words "level" or "layers" on this site. A higher level (if we enumerate levels of recursion, or levels of abstraction) is actually a higher level of disorder, or entropy. In this context, we are higher-level beings compared to the cells of which we are composed.

But this would imply that the highest-level being would be at the highest level of disorder, which is, in my mind, backwards.

So I use the word "order" instead when discussing abstraction levels. A higher order being is thus at the lowest level of disorder.

I try to use levels or layers to discuss spatial quantities, like ordinates in a Cartesian plane.

I visualize this as the bottom-half of a tree. The trunk is at the top, and the roots grow downward as they branch into complexity, with each branch forming in a new level of "earth", so to speak.

A lower-order being is at the lowest levels or layers of earth. But if we count those layers of recursion from the root, they are a "higher-ordinate". In computing, we call low-level software the software that runs at a lower level of abstraction. With hindsight, we should have probably called this "higher order" software or "lower-ordinate".

I may make mistakes on this site as I write, as it is difficult to keep track of this in my mind, and I'll fix them if I see them. The English language sometimes confuses order and level, but doing so can convey the exact opposite of our intention.