What is the universe made of?"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
The newest science of complexity is finding that this is true. Atoms are not independent stuff, but are instead nodes of energy patterns in relationship to everything, literally everything else. A further twist: everything else is also not stuff, but always already just this relationship.
Nothing comes first; nothing is fundamental. Everything is always already interactive. A decent paraphrase of Bell's Theorem in quantum physics is "Reality is non-local." Complexity science reaffirms this in a new sense: self-organizing co-adaptive systems that emerge in conditions that are near chaos are constituted only in cooperation with an "environment" that consists of other such systems. Systems nesting inside systems all the way down and all the way up. Networks of probability waves instead of atoms. At a higher level, networks of molecules manage genes in complex interactive systems. Networks of biological communication allow the immune system to learn new tricks, to adapt. Cognitive networks such as immunity that become recursive eventually create symbolic capacities. Neural networks. This allows the emergence of a new complex system called consciousness. Consciousness allows for social symbol systems (languages) to elaborate a new emergence called culture. The story continues, as history.
History reveals its own chronology of "strange attractors" just as with the smallest phenomena. A decent paraphrase of complexity science is "More is different". New qualities, new rules, new values emerge out of such new relationships, new stories.
Patterns are a kind of information. Information is a kind of pattern. Information in dynamic process over time is narrative. Reality is a story.
In short, this is why we must study interpretation. Inside every story, the agents or "characters" so to speak see the meaning of their story differently. Enlightenment is to realize this: there is no transcendental signifier, no fundamental self, no guarantees. Reality is dynamic process, interactive systems, layers of networks in which "you" are a node. Significant, yes! But you are non-local too. To keep your story going is to engage in dialogue with the entire universe of relationships.
This has been a wake up call from my node to yours.