So far we have examined questions of emergence in the relatively simple case of a body of water in which gradients of properties like temperature, density, or speed cause the spontaneous organization of the molecules into collective patterns of flow. We can continue to use a body of water as our basic environment but in order to add a new layer of complexity we must make its composition less homogenous. This means that new gradients must be introduced: gradients of concentration of substances other than water. These new gradients are also characterized by a tendency to dissipate but unlike the old ones countering that tendency involves the injection of a flow of matter not just a flow of energy. The effect of that injection will, in tum, depend on the specific chemical substances being injected. Some substances, for instance, have a tendency to donate or export some of their protons, basically hydrogen atoms deprived of their electrons. These substances are called “acids.” Other substances have the tendency to act as acceptors or importers of protons and are called “bases.” When concentrations of substances with these opposite tendencies come into contact, forming an acid-base or Ph gradient, a spontaneous flow of protons from one chemical species to another is generated as the means used by the gradient to cancel itself. Another example of a chemical gradient is an oxidation-reduction or redox gradient created when a substance that has a tendency to oxidize, that is, to donate electrons, comes into contact with one that has a tendency to reduce or accept electrons. A redox gradient can drive an electron flow across chemical species when it occurs, for example, in an aqueous environment in the presence of concentrations of metallic substances. (Delanda 2011:35)
DELANDA, Manuel. 2011. Philosophy and Simulation: The emergence of Synthetic Reason. Londres: Bloomsbury Academic.