Oh that I agree yes.
I think what you’re talking about reminds me of chaotic systems : a few simple rules repeated can lead to a variety of unexpected results.
But importantly that it’s a few simple rules.
Finding really good metaphors helps I think. They can bridge the gaps between a multitude of systems.
Yes. I find time-based, systemic, cognitive (not necessarily exclusively brain /neurological — but I’m a fan of embodied cognition which is brain/body/environment flowing through each other) — works well for me.
Computation works as a strong metaphor as it’s a good descriptive system but I see computers as based on brains (a late 1940s model of the brain) rather than brains-are-like-computers, which is a habit I think we’ve acquired over time to think of the brain-as-a-kind-of-computer: a metaphor taken too far I think and flipped.
But these are where I’m at: everybody’s got their paths and I don’t know if there will be a single all satisfying answer that will be universal: but I think some heuristics may exist that generally hold.
Lately I’ve been working on vestibules as a universal metaphor for doorways. Long doorways are vestibules. Gateways. Mixing spaces. Interfaces. Easy to work with as we already use rooms as metaphors for so many things.