LifeOS: exploring the system that executes DNA

March 26, 2010

Information Processing Loops

Information Processing Loop
This same feedback diagram works for information processing in general. Whether a computer or a biological cell, the same steps are followed. Input, process and output modify matter, which is then, memory of the process.

We can see this same cycle of process repeated throughout the Natural World. For example, our perception/action cycle follows this same simple pattern. Information flows into the eye, to the brain. There it is processed and commands sent out to the hand, which interacts with the object.

We tend to focus on eye and brain action, forgetting that we are part of a loop that includes our action or behavior in the environment. Anytime there is information transferred, it is part of a loop. Just like Karma, that info is coming around again… to it’s source.

Now let’s consider that the psychedelic experience is a transfer of information. That in itself is a leap for some folks. The predominant view is that nothing happens but distortion of the senses, or chemicals in the brain. The real experts in these matters are the shamans, who say they gain information from plant spirits. So, if we admit to an intelligent universe, we just about have to consider that the shaman is right. In this respect, LifeOS agrees wholeheartedly with the shaman. Information traveling in loops, remember.
Psychedelic Symbiosis
Behavior? How has our behavior been affected by psychedelics? Yours and mine, our culture in the last 50 years? How about historically? The influence of the big four, amanita muscaria, stropharia cubensis, ergot and alcohol, in human history, cannot be denied. From a system’s point of view, they have operated as control mechanisms in human behavior. For centuries we have followed these four gods, wreaking havoc on the environment, cutting ourselves out of the feedback loops.

Now, we are listening to different plant spirits and even the messages from the old ones seem to have changed. The sooner we face up to what our plant spirits are telling us, the sooner we can get back in the loop.

cheers,
jim

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March 25, 2010

Smart Feedback

On all levels, feedback manages process as part of the control mechanism that regulates activity. Within the brain, any other organ, or the whole body, activity is regulated by feedback. The same is true of all complex systems. Feedback loops maintain homeostasis.

Feedback is a term that infers that the loop is a mechanical process with no intelligence involved. The most common example, the thermostat that controls a furnace, is as dumb as a board fence. However, even a fence requires intelligence to build it. A great deal of intelligence goes into the design of thermostats. They don’t just happen out of the blue. It also takes a rudimentary intelligence to recognize the relationship between the temperature in the room and the dial on the thermostat, and set the thing.

Feedback is fundamental in biological systems. Our perception is just such a loop. In it’s simplest form, a feedback loop has a receptor, that senses the environment, a control center that processes the feedback and an effector, that performs adjustments.

“When the receptor senses a stimulus, it sends information to a control center, the component that sets the range at which a variable is maintained. The control center determines an appropriate response to the stimulus.”–Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeostasis

Feedback, loops, circular channels of information, are communication between functional elements of a complex system. Whether designed by engineers or part of a biological process, feedback loops are intelligence in action. At some point in the loop, choices are made based on input, with homeostasis as a target state. Intelligent choices are made toward an intended outcome!

Now that’s smart.

March 8, 2010

What is Consciousness?

What is consciousness? That which observes fields of information, matter and energy, and calls them reality. Need it be more complex than that? Fields of information, matter and energy comprise our environment. Our consciousness interprets the environment and acts within it. We watch.

If that isn’t enough of a definition for you, there are more involved version to be found almost everywhere you look. Everyone wants to take a shot at it; we all have one. There is Consciousness Online, Center for Consciousness Studies(U of A), as well as dozens of universities, new age retreats and thousands of blogs that tag themselves as relating to the subject. The variety of descriptions reflects the difficulty of the enterprise. Every individual is describing a unique view of “reality”, that has been learned within a unique context. Every field of study has its own unique viewpoint, (piece of the elephant) that influences their observations. On top of that, each discipline develops a unique jargon to describe what they “see”. I call it the Tower of Babel approach. The more you read, the worse it gets; agreement on this subject is rare.

What this discussion really needs is a common denominator. The inquiry needs to be scaled to a level of functionality, where language and terminology can be used in common.

Rather than looking at consciousness from our human perspective, we need to look at how reality and consciousness relate to biological systems in general. Rather than concentrating on the complex internal details, let’s look at how the process functions at this higher level. At this level, the functionality of mobile species is simple: they move, eat, grow, expel waste and reproduce. We don’t care what goes on in their heads, just that they function within the environmental system they inhabit. However, we can note that the ability of an agent to be aware of its surroundings, is essential to three out the five functions. In its simplest form, awareness involves the processing of information. Here we can find some common ground.

The studies of complex systems, quantum mechanics, cybernetics, cellular biology, single celled organisms, chaos theory, fractals, holography, bioelectrics and information technologies share some common conceptual underpinnings. They are all explorations into information processing. There are many rules and laws that are consistent across these fields of study. They share common formulae for the construction of networks, for example.

The language developed by information technologies is known and understood across all languages, national and cultural boundaries. It was developed with functionality as it’s goal, and information processing and distribution it’s primary functions. Biological systems exhibit nearly identical patterns of functionality.

We find the same patterns of process in action in cells where DNA finds, copies and transfers genetic information. The universal rules and laws governing robust digital networks, outlined by Information Technologies offers the foundation for a common language to discuss consciousness, biological life and the material universe, as well.

The second common denominator is that consciousness, cellular activity, quantum mechanics, atomic structure are characterized by fields. Just as our consciousness is the result of waves of firing neurons(fields), matter is the result of waves of atomic particles interacting through fields of force(energy).

From plasma experiments, to growing tips of plants, to firing neurons, it is fields, processing information, that guide interactions. Consciousness is just such a field, processing input and directing actions. Looking at it in this light, all biological processes cycle through a phase of pure information, on the way to a phase of pure matter. Once it is seen as a fundamental function of biological systems, rather than an exclusive attribute of human evolution, consciousness reveals itself.

cheers,
jim

March 6, 2010

Mama Yerba Rides Again!

Filed under: Life OS News, self-publishing — Tags: , , , — insomniac @ 10:21 am

The part of this self-publishing trip that is the toughest for me, is getting back into business… tax forms, business license and the paperwork. But it is easier than it used to be, with online services and such. Picking a name for the publishing arm of this operation was harder than i thought. All my most recent company names have been used and reused. So, i’m back to the Mother Herb as my logo. Mama Yerba rides again!

cheers,
jim

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