When waterspouts form, they begin simultaneously in the clouds and on the sea's surface. The two vortices come together and the system takes on a very tangible integrity. Anyone who has enjoyed the adrenaline rush of watching one up close knows the same air and the same water that were there just a few minutes earlier suddenly take on a different relationship. And a new meaning to the viewer.
A waterspout is not the water, not the air, not the cloud nor the sea. It is something new and different.
Water and air and energy flow through the system, and this flow creates the appearance and behavior of the waterspout.
We can think of a waterspout as a very specific kind of intercommunication between the atmosphere and the sea.
It's a useful example because we can all recognize that a waterspout is a dynamic flowing system and not a thing, an object. We know it has water and air in it but would hardly make the mistake of thinking a waterspout was simply air and water.
We mistake other dynamic communication systems for objects all the time. We think of atoms and molecules and bacteria and cells and beings like you and I as objects, and not dynamic systems of intercommunications.
In a broad sense, communications are an exchange of information, a relationship, an interaction between systems. Communications between systems are always directional (to or from or between the systems) and always generate change.
When systems intercommunicate, new patterns emerge. The new patterns are more complex, than the patterns of intercommunications creating them. Moiré patterns are a good example of how new patterns emerge. Click on the Moiré pattern to see more.
Intercommunicate implies the freedom for information to move in either direction or even between many points. Thus a house might have three intercommunicating rooms. Energy intercommunicates between the sky and the sea in a waterspout.
Non-living objects communicate with forces, like electromagnetism, gravity, or direct impact. The resulting changes between non-living systems are limited to a specific set of forms and conditions. On the cosmic scale we see similar shapes - spheres and vortexes repeated billions upon billions of times. The up/down quarks and electron/electron neutrino leptons intercommunicate using bosons, photons and gluons (under natural conditions) in 96 different combinations (elements). Each element can intercommunicate with itself to become one of 32 crystal forms.
Atoms intercommunicate with different elements to form hundreds of thousands of different kinds of molecules. Yet these too are divided into specific sets by the limitations of how they can communicate with each other. Their arrangements for building larger networks of communications are limited to Plato's five regular convex solids (tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron) controlled by four kinds of pattern-shapes that generate all of the natural universe.
Living creatures communicate with an even greater range of interchanges; thousands of different chemical messengers, an infinite range of electrical impulses, microwaves, sounds, tactile stimuli, and visual signals. Some of these are accidental emissions detected by other organisms, others are deliberate signals. Communications construct the form and control the behavior of living beings.
Communications emitted by one being will regulate the behavior of other beings capable of detecting them. Communications are events between beings.
There is a critical difference between language and content. Language is a semi-closed pattern of organization between beings. Content flows through the language system; an open flow extending between all concerned parties and their internal and external environments. Language moderates content to create an emergent higher layer of being, a new concept.
Bacteria have a large vocabulary, big enough to create some pretty amazing organizations (fish, trees, human beings and all the rest of the living creatures of our planet).
Cells also communicate. Their vocabulary is much more sophisticated than that of bacteria, but shares many similarities because cells are communication networks of bacteria and thus use many of the same communications.