LifeOS: exploring the system that executes DNA

April 10, 2009

Why Are We Here?

When observed from above, from the control room of higher order of environmental systems, it looks like human beings have waged an all out war on Nature. From the time that man initiated slash and burn technology, the ability of one person to destroy habitat and reduce productive systems to wasteland has increased many fold, as have his reasons to do so. Human ingenuity has found many ways to profit from the plunder. And the sheer number of them has also multiplied. Six billion of them chewing away at the biological infrastructure like termites. What are they thinking?

At War With the System

Our imaginary war with the System is exemplified by the way we treat diseases like cancer. We think of cancer as something that has attacked us that we have to fight. We fight by killing cells, hoping to kill all of the enemy cells. Those cells indeed threaten a healthy body, but they are not enemies from the outside; they are the bodies own cells.

The body produces cancerous cells from time to time and has an elaborate immune system, that normally takes care of them. When the immune system becomes damaged itself, or the information it needs to function is compromised, or it is overwhelmed by damaged cells, a tumor results.

To the Rescue

The ego likes to blame the outside for all of its problems and the concept of attack and defense fits right in. The medical profession likes the concept as well. It makes them the knights in shining armor that save the day, defending the helpless ego from evil doers. But in reality, the carcinogens are always out there and the cancerous cells are always being produced. It is not that cancer is attacking, but the immune system is unable to cope with the level abuse heaped upon it by our decadent lifestyles.

It is Captain Self’s job to avoid carcinogens in the environment and make decisions that maintain the integrity of the immune system.

Misinformed Agents

When the good Captain is locked into battle with his own crew, nothing good can come of it. The Captain is not at war with the system, but a product of it. The cancerous cells are not at war with the body, but a product of it. Just like the Captain, the cancerous cells are simply misinformed. They are working under their own type of internal delusion. They both have forgotten that they belong to the system and have taken off on their own, following some internal dialog that takes them far from their intended path. In the efficient information processing system, we would expect these processes to be quickly terminated.

Run-a-way Process

In this journey of discovery, we are always on the lookout for repeated patterns. Here we see that an entity can run amuck, endlessly repeating a process because some feedback loop malfunctions. Just as in a computer stuck in an endless loop, sucking resources while producing no meaningful work, cancer cells and human beings have lost contact with their parent system; they no longer have the information they need to stay on track.

Is That Bad?

Depends on your point of view. From the view of the individual and/or species, failure is bad, success good. From the systems viewpoint, although run-a-way processes pose a threat to local subsystems, they also can provide benefits. A run-a-way process puts stress on the local system, causing accelerated learning and adaptation. For example, our separation from our environment has led to a spike in creativity and technology that never would have happened if the human animal had stayed connected to its natural system. For the individual, a diagnosis of terminal cancer can certainly rearrange one’s priorities. The sense of mortality may lead to extra effort going into an unfinished masterpiece.

Systemic Responsibility

The System provides the necessary information for all entities, just as it supplies nutrients and carries away their waste. The System also is responsible for any breakdowns in the supply channels. The System is also responsible for successful adaptation. The System knows what it is doing.

The System experiments with agents. There is a competition going on here; not a war, but a contest to determine what improvements need to be made in future models. This unprecedented acceleration of learning and adaptation is oriented towards an intentional outcome. We have a mission. Our job is to learn what that entails and get on with it.

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April 4, 2009

Systemic Emotion

Emotion: an instinctive response to environmental situations, that is distinguishable from logic and reason.

Many folks feel that emotions are a throw back to our animal past and therefore, should be suppressed in favor of a logical state of mind. To those that see the human species as the pinnacle of evolution, emotions seem like a primitive mechanism that threatens to pull us down, impeding our progress. Our reptilian brain, favoring primitive behavior if survival is threatened, is a case in point.

Primitive or Fundamental?

Rather than looking at emotions as primitive, there are advantages to thinking of them as fundamental, performing valuable functions at all levels of biological systems. The emotional mechanism is just as important in our “advanced” civilization, as ever, it is the recorded behaviors and their settings that are primitive and need to be updated.

In the individual, emotions manage the state of readiness to meet environmental situations. The source of our emotions is definitely in our subconscious. Environmental situations, real or imagined, cause the release of a flood of chemical messengers, that reset the state of all subsystems, in preparation to react.

Security Alerts

One way to look at emotion is that it is a part of the security system, that instantly alerts Captain Self and the rest of the crew to danger or any situational change. Emotions can switch the state of readiness of the entire organism in a flash. Emotions work in real time, but are also intimately involved with memory and recall. In memory, emotions continue their role as an alert mechanism.

Not only is the emotional state recorded in memory right along with events, it also measures and grades the experience. The type and intensity of the emotion becomes a flag that marks the experience, both for a gauge to its importance and for easier recall. We know that emotional state has a lot to do with how well we remember things. So, the flow of data that our memory processes is categorized, referenced and assigned degree of importance(prioritized) on the fly.

Systems Level Emotions

Besides looking at what emotions do for the individual, we want to understand what function emotions perform for the system. From this vantage point it is immediately apparent that, as well as managing the agent’s internal state of readiness, emotions affect the external world. Emotions are part of the communications network that manages social relationships.

Body Language

In animals we see that emotions are communicated, between individuals and groups, by body language and other visual cues. It appears to be a separate channel of information from vocal exchanges. For example, the tails of dogs and cats project their emotional state to any observer. Barking guard dogs will often be wagging their tails while appearing to be vigorously defending their turf. One end of the dog is yelling, “I’m doing my job”, while the other end is saying, “Take me for a walk.”

For we humans, facial expressions and other body language communicate hidden feelings. No matter what the conscious mind is trying to convey, the subconscious is often projecting a different picture. To whom? The subconscious of other agents.

Color Coded

Throughout the animal kingdom, color is used to broadcast emotional state, especially in mating. From the red rumps of female baboons in heat to the colorful displays of cuttlefish, emotions play an important role in the reproductive process. Displays of fear serve to warn local residents of danger. Emotions serve a survival function for individuals and groups, but go even farther, providing realtime feedback to the higher levels of control, like species and ecosystems.

The Brine Shrimp Massacre

Remember the brine shrimp experiments in Cleve Backster’s lab? Death is a radical change of state for any organism. The traumatic termination of any living thing registers on all local agents, and beyond. The Primary Perception revealed by Backster’s experiments, is the core communicator of agent states to the nonlocal environment. This is fundamental emotion, highlighting, organizing and prioritizing the holographic feedback loops of all living things. How agents feel about what they are doing, is important to the system. The total of all agents states, generates the holoverse, the emotional state of System.

Suppressed Connectivity

Our attempts to suppress our emotions has hampered our ability to communicate with our local environment as well as the System at large. Many folks recognize that the root cause of much of our troubles is our separation from the natural world. We have done it to ourselves.

April 1, 2009

While we are on the subject…

…ran across this today. It’s a good one! Check it out.

The Quantum Surrender of Science

Science, a once-paralyzed minority of yesterday’s evangelical world, has long last come to the pinnacle of its predecessor. Scientists, now modern day vicars of faith, don fact as surrogates for dogma in their indoctrination of the ever impressionable public mind. As if clergy of old, their methods of derivation remain sacrosanct outside of scientific circles, impervious to the same investigation they readily apply elsewhere. To question the possible defects of the system that produces the central truths by which we live is to question reality itself, for how well our world view has been prescribed by scholastic teachings of scientific convention. All of our lives we have been taught that the world is a predictable place, and where it is not, thereby a lack of information, and not science, exists. We have been told to hold our tongue and quietly shave with the Razor of Occam when faced with the complexities of the unknown. But, let us exhibit caution before we obediently lock ourselves in the edifice of science, for a house of verity built on a foundation of error is sure to fall. Truths, despite adherence to the rules from which they are erected, become little more than falsehoods under incomplete laws of construct. Heterodoxies Blog presents The Quantum Surrender of Science, a composition on the deconstruction of scientific axiom, which aims to usurp the primacy of science by means of its own dilation, as the progression of such institutions are to be understood as an evolution, and not as the doctrine of truth we have been made to believe.

The middle is the best part.

What is needed now is the persistent disposal of scientific models that are limited to reductionism, determinism and localism, to be replaced with new models that consider factors from both higher and lower hierarchical levels, as well as those that acknowledge the observer and the act of measurement itself on reality.

Models focused on the systems approach, understanding processes and their control mechanisms, will take us to an objective view of objects, a higher level of functionality.

But most of all, in our infinite trek for truth, our scientific models of tomorrow must not only remember to bring society and its educational establishments along for the ride, they must demand participation from the true unveilers of the infinite realities they seek to ascertain.

I agree, but can “science” really give up? They seem to be turning deeper into their contrived material fantasy world. Meanwhile, the pseudo scientists, new agers and witchdoctors are leaving them behind, ready to embrace Quantum Mechanics as evidence of the existence of a mystical realm. Unafraid to incorporate QM into their understanding and improve their performance in real life. Even if science gets their models right, it could be another century before they can put them to proper use. You and i can put this knowledge to use today.

Meditate on it.

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