Nerve cells and Ideals and Ideal Programming
I've started writing a little about my concepts of Ideals and Ideal Programming for the conceptualization of software agents. It will be quite some time before I flesh out these concepts sufficiently for them to sound coherent, but I expect to incrementally make a little progress now and then.
One comment I'd like to make now is that there may in fact be at least some parallel between the concept of an Ideal and a biological nerve cell. A nerve cell has some number of dendrites that enable the nerve cell to receive electrical impulses, and one axon which is used to send out an electrical impulse. Nerve cells can be quite short (in the brain) or quite long in some parts of the body. The basic idea here that relates to an Ideal is that unlike a traditional software component or layer of abstraction, an Ideal can take inputs across many layers of software. A difference from a nerve cell is that an Ideal can send out messages across many levels of software.
Although in practice messages between processes running on different computers must travel through many layers of software (e.g., a classic TCP/IP "stack"), there is no need for the higher-level applications to have any knowledge of those lower layers. That layering is incidental to the structuring of a distributed application itself. An Ideal would in fact transcend actual application logic layers.
In reality, Ideals would not actually be transcending layers of traditional software components because those layers would no longer actually exist. The new "layering" would be more abstract than real since it would be a statistical artifact of the sum of all Ideals that happen to have dendrites or axons in the vicinity of various modular components.