Derivation may be a term that is unfamiliar to many people, but it is very fundamental and worth having a clear understanding of. It is defined in in the dictionary as ‘the act or fact of deriving or of being derived’ or as ‘something that is or has been derived; derivative’. While ‘derivative’ is defined simply as ‘not original; secondary’.
For our purposes, think of ‘Derivation’ as the opposite of ‘Abstraction‘. Whereas Abstraction involves distilling something done to the simple, essential aspect, Derivation means taking a more Abstract concept and breaking them down into more complex sub-concepts.
For example, let’s start with the concept of ‘animal’. We can break this concept down into the derivative concepts of ‘mammals’, ‘reptiles’ and amphibians. We can then take ‘mammals’ and identify a still more derivative concept: ‘dogs’. We can then derive various breeds of dogs, and within a breed we can derive various individual dogs, and from that derive individual characteristics of a given dog, like personality, hair color, etc.
By the way, going back to that concept of ‘animal’, we can also abstract that concept to ‘organism’ and then to object. But while we can only abstract something so far before we ultimately reach the limit of Abstraction at the Absolute Infinite One, when it comes to derivation, there seems to be no end to how finely we can split hairs.
This repeating derivation is found throughout Creation in the form of fractal patterns in everything from tree branches to waves to the human circulatory system.
One of the main causes of confusion in life is the misunderstanding about which concepts are abstractions and which are derivative.
Here’s the classic example: Politics.
There are many people who believe that you can ultimately break people down into one of two camps: politically liberal or politically conservative. We could also refer to that as The Left and The Right.