LifeOS: exploring the system that executes DNA

January 19, 2009

Food as Information

Waves of Information

Every movement of matter and/or energy in our society is accompanied by a flood of information exchanged between the participants. That’s the way it is in computer networks, too. A blinding barrage of data accompanies even the smallest tasks performed by a computer. In a network, the computers are in constant communication, talking to each other, keeping it all running and the content we send around is almost incidental. It is the same in biological systems; everything is information first and matter/energy a secondary manifestation of that information.

Food is energy, but it is also information. Not just a little bit of trivia, but food is ALL information. Even the energy is information. The energy is stored in matter, in chemicals waiting to react. Matter is all light energy in the first place. It is the electromagnetic structure that contains the energy we know as matter. Structure contains information. In other words, light, matter and information are all aspects of the same thing.

Attract and Repel

Besides the information provided regarding the processing and distribution of nutrients, all food sources supply information that encourages, or discourages, the continued use of their product. Most plants are very selective about their symbiotic partners. They produce an elaborate array of molecules that attract some partners and repel others. For their chosen partners they include tips on cultivation and preparation. For others, the plants issue warnings, flags and as a last resort, poison.

For example, wheat produces molecules that cause allergic reactions in some people. Why? Because the plant has formed symbiotic partnerships with humans in the past, and placed “markers” to identify their descendants. This happened over a long stretch of time in our distant past, as it is related to blood type and antigens.

Some plants skip interacting with the simple minded beasts. They simply hide their seed in the fruit and let it sprout in his dung heap. This strategy has been quite successful as it accomplishes the basic job of dispersal, while it leaves open the possibility that the simple minded beast may grasp the significance of the seed, dung and sprout sequence, and plant one. The sequence becomes information that translates into an invitation to “tend my orchard”, from the orchard itself.

Opium Poppy

An extreme case is the opium poppy, as this species does much more than just encourage continued use, it demands it. They want to make a deal. They will cover your pain in exchange for your devotion. In the wild, that devotion resulted in cultivation by a shaman. What the junky shoots in his arm has been stripped of all information except the pain killers. Besides that lack, and by not relating to the plant itself, the junky doesn’t get any clues on how to uphold his end of the bargain. All he knows how to do is find a fix.

In cultures where opium poppies are grown there is very little abuse by the workers. Their culture is built around the relationship and opium use doesn’t interfere with any part of their social or economic structure. In fact, the relationship provides for their livelihood.

Healthy Symbiosis

This same symbiotic relationship can be seen in many forms in indigenous cultures. The Hopi worship of the Corn Mother, for example. The closer one is to the food source, both physically and spiritually, the better chance one has of maintaining a healthy relationship with it. The more our food is processed, stored, cooked and otherwise stepped on, the less information is available to maintain a healthy body and spirit.

In the human body, the information supposed to be contained in the ingested food should include information about local pollen, soil and atmospheric conditions. If your food comes from far away, it won’t have relevant information for your body. If it is processed, much of that information is stripped away. Either way, the result is that your body is insufficiently informed about the environment in which it exists. That’s just more business for the makers of histamine blockers. The first sign that you don’t fit in your environment is that you are allergic to it.

Information Breakdown

Many of the diseases that plague us today are breakdowns in the information processing of our system. Cancer is cells confused about how often to reproduce and an immune system that is confused about what is a healthy cell. Others diseases are also caused by confusion of the immune system, like when it attacks healthy cells. Cells are receiving broken, damaged and otherwise insufficient information that impairs their ability to do their job.

The general malaise of our species centers around our lost connection to our environment. That connection depends on a steady flow of information between us and said environment. One way that flow has been disrupted, is by the way we gather and prepare our food.

Team Symbiosis

One of the internal command units under Team Subconscious is for the management of symbiotic relations. Symbiots are non-human organisms that provide us with specialized services. Like there is the deal we have with the thousands of different microbes in our gut to process our food. These single celled creatures live in colonies whose populations ebb and flow according to what we eat. They eat what we eat and pass on to us vital nutrients.

Our species has also made symbiotic deals with plant species for the food we feed ourselves and our microbes. These relationships are highly complex, involving multiple species, processing a regular flow of incoming environmental material, a barrage of communication molecules, informing the organism, alerting the immune system, sorting, evaluating, deciding and managing at every step and level of the processes. This is all accomplished by the exchange and processing of information.

Chili Peppers

Say you eat a bowl of green chili. First thing is that it burns the heck out of your mucus membrane. That’s enough to keep most insects and animals from eating chili at all, but there are benefits to those who can get past the initial pain.

So the team looks up the fragrance and taste in the local database and finds that the system recognizes green chili and tells the captain that the pain is a good sign. When it’s real hot, that equals good stuff. Maybe it is because you regularly eat chili peppers, or maybe your great grandfather had a long history of chili abuse, at any rate your system recognizes the fruit and is gong for the benefits. Through experience, your system has learned that the benefits of the chili pepper out weigh the pain. For the system the pepper provides nutrition(vitamin C), as well as temporary physiological reactions, like increased heart rate and improved circulation.

Captain’s Reward

The system rewards the captain for his cooperation with endorphins that replace the pain with a wave of “feel good”. The system also uses the unique attributes of the chili pepper to help manage relationships in the digestive tract. The chili plant has its own symbiotic relationships with the flora, fauna including parasites and bacteria. A steady diet of chili peppers has long term effects on digestion.

So team subconscious has decided that chili peppers are a good thing, and adds them to the list of most desirable foods. Maybe it lobbies for a few plants in the back yard. The captain thinks it is all his idea, but essentially the chili plant has recruited a symbiotic partner. The plant and team subconscious have made a deal, to insure the propagation of future generations of chili.

Targeted Communication

To accomplish this feat, the plant has manufactured highly complex molecules targeted to specific receptor sites in our nervous system. The communication has resulted in modified behavior of the individual, and benefits for multiple species. Now the current scientific model, featuring a dead universe, all of this is just a fortunate accident for everyone, but in the living universe we see that it is a strategy employed by the chili plant and an agreement made between the plant and the subconscious involving messenger molecules and learning for both parties.

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