In his April 3 note, Ikonoclast writes:
By the way, I agree with every point in J.N's reply now I understand it. It's just the very last sentence which I am having difficulty with. "In other words, in some sense, the entire Complex System is partly embedded in one of its own (somewhat indeterministic and open-ended) subsets…."
Did that sentence mean to say:
"In other words, in some sense, the Complex System of the deterministic autocatalytic sprawl is embedded in the (indeterministic and open-ended) superset (of the biosphere)…." ?
This is a philosophical and logical minefield I feel unqualified to step into, but perhaps I should try to clarify a tiny bit.
I think that, over the past few hundred years, it has become increasingly difficult to disentangle reality (territory) from theory (map).
For millennia (leaving aside the Greek philosophers), ‘reality’ for human beings was mediated through their physical senses. Things that humans could see, hear, touch, smell and taste were real. The development of scientific tools expanded this mediation. With gadgets such as the telescope and microscope, humans started to engage with reality in ways that transcended their direct physical senses. And as the scientific tools evolved, they increasingly incorporated theories. They became what Ulf Martin, following Leibniz, calls, ‘symbolic machines’. 
Since symbolic machines are creatures of the human imagination, it follows that the reality they help us observe is partly determined by the way we theorize that very reality. In fact, as Ulf Martin explains, symbolic machines often create and in turn become reality.
Take ‘real GDP’. Economists treat it as part of the objective reality, but that presumable objectivity is based on a specific theory –- namely, the neoclassical theory of perfectly competitive equilibrium among atomistic, rational utility-maximizers (see here and in ). In other words, the empirical measure of the social world here is ‘biased’ by the dominant theory of how the world works. In this sense, the dominant theory creates reality in its own image.
In this particular case, the dominant theory leads to a very unreal measure of ‘real GDP; so much so, that the correct acronym of ‘real GDP’ should be changed to AWUGDU -- pronounced 'a-woogdoo' -- for 'Arbitrarily Weighed Unquantifiable Gross Domestic Utility'). And this unreal AWUGDU is our reality....
Since the operational symbolism of science is entangled in the broader deterministic-existentialistic autocatalytic sprawl of capitalism – think of Galileo’s entanglement with the Church’s Ptolemaic dogma, or Darwin’s with Christianity and Western racism as two obvious examples -- it follows that the reality of the Complex System is, at least in part, a subset of the deterministic-existentialistic way we theorize that reality.
The territory is partly enfolded in the map.
 Martin, Ulf. 2018. The Autocatalytic Sprawl of Pseudorational Mastery (version 0.12). Working Papers on Capital as Power (2018/04, June): 1-20. http://bnarchives.yorku.ca/544/
 Nitzan, Jonathan. 1989. Price and Quantity Measurements: Theoretical Biases in Empirical Procedures. Working Paper 14/1989, Department of Economics, McGill University, Montreal, pp. 1-24. http://bnarchives.yorku.ca/137/