2008-Jan-24 01:33:54 - Replicators, Organic Compound (Food) Chain, Life
Life as we know it functions better with specific molecules, "organic compounds", which I would actually widen to include all of the biologically "popular" molecules, carbon or not. Life whirred into being when a few of them were hanging around each other. Some of these simple molecules are associated with important processes, such as oxidation. Gradually the processes and molecules become more complex. With some of the increasingly more complex molecules, they were found in less abundance. Replicators began hanging around one another so that when they died, parts would be laying around pre-assembled, ready for the replication. Eventually, as replication scaled up, the reliance on other replicators' produced compounds became the only way of getting those compounds. Fungi, herbivores, then the omnivores and carnivores. There is a force of gravity in the replication process, necessary to the replication process. Replicating molecules tend towards one another, organisms depend on other organisms. There is an outward push, also - competition forces species into new environments or death. Both of those forces - the pull of reliance and the push of competition are both equally important.
Their effects scale up into the complexity of our societies, economies, etc.
What is it that unites discretization, classical organization, replication, and life? Even coming from only an absolutely biological, chemical, physical, scientific standpoint, it is still damn interesting that the process of nature created us!
Replication, as a force, tries to put as many replicating things as there is "room" for - which boils down to access to necessary/available components. Those two properties are the same. Replication will adapt itself to what is available, making that in turn necessary to its replication. That's pretty damn efficient. The time it takes a replicator to adapt to a molecular change is exponentially related to its scalar complexity. A single string molecule that replicates directly can adapt easier to a molecular change to its fundamental replication process than an organism which built from repeating molecules which constitute repeating cells, which repeat within tissues, which repeat within organs, which are repeated within each singular, final entity can. The more complex life forms can adapt better to the greater scales and forces of the larger environment's larger systems, but it is an ability acquired at the cost of independence. Organisms that rely on crossing-over for continual mutation require that two organisms be present in order to replicate, to reproduce. This is the source of the true gravity of reliance. In simple molecular replication, the force is merely a suggestion, a convenience, a slight tendency. For Life this force is truly manifest, it is an imperative device of sustained replication.
The driving force behind replication isn't reproduction in continually greater quantity - the variation in number of offspring and life span of an organism, be they cell or rhinoceros, is enough to prove that. The machines that replicators design for themselves, so as to be better at replicating, aren't trying to replicate as fast and wide as possible. They are replicating so as to produce as many as possible within a given environment - be it saline solution or rainforest. If a replicator makes too many copies of itself, it competes with itself and dies off. If a replicator makes too few of itself, it won't reproduce (in the case of a "life form", the dominant classification of replicator. There are not as many (any?) purely molecular replicators to be found. The tediousness of pure mutation versus the success of crossing-over... not much needs to be said about that)
Replicators ceased being just molecules and became "life" at the inception of crossing-over, at the moment change was sustained . Change became a continuous force, a constant . Guaranteed to remain constant so long as the change would occur fast enough to keep up with the change of the greater environmental system1. When intelligence rolled around (organisms with a brain), the pace of adaptation superseded the speed of the environment, which meant that the replicators were shaping the environment to fit the process of replication , rather than the replicator changing itself to fit the environment. Big steps in digging burrows and building dams. Then came Reason . One type intelligent organism learned how to use the environment to make parts of itself better - stones could smash better than hands, spears could reach farther and safer than arms could, a car has greater endurance than a running man. Evolving out of reason was man's enterprise of tools, of technology. Hoisting the problem of adaptation away from the replicator and putting it on the environment. The procedure of change now happened in tools, bodily extensions that could be changed and made more efficient immeasurably faster than the organism could evolve into itself on its own. Reason's latest creation is an extension to itself - the computer, the first tool that extends the brain . Very powerful, but also very rudimentary. Needless to say, a great many aspects of society's instabilities can be attributed directly to the logistic dissonance between the computer and the brain, the computer and the mind , but this is rather another topic entirely.
So, despite describing Life from a completely materialistic standpoint, it should still seem to us to be pretty god damned remarkable, even weird . Our consciousness is a wild concentration of change, of a greater density than the universe might have ever seen before.
What is the force of adaptivity, what is change? The business of existence is change: all it creates it creates by change, and once existing, things tend to continue changing! Existence rattles into being and courses through eternity simply to disturb equilibrium, to ruffle the hair of placidity.
Things would not exist without change, they are built from it, upon it. But for that reason, all things are therefore fleeting. Bittersweet, really.
--- 1. That of the deterministic, logical system. Not life.
2008-Jan-21 23:40:43 - Intuition and Consciousness
If the mind were all intuition or all intelligence, there would be no "consciousness". The pull of a complete understanding of some thing would implore a person just as much as mechanical, cause-and-effect, determinist knowledge would. No choosing or decision making really necessary in either case. This realization should tame the age old shit throwing between those who believe in nothing but will and those who believe in nothing but determinacy. It probably won't relax anyone, unfortunately, but I think there is still something to be said about finding a very simple reason why both camps are correct, and that it would in fact be necessary for them to both be correct in order that either of them are correct! Silly bastards! no need to fight, it is both ideas or neither. Now relax, shake hands, and make up. It is the task of the new scientist to repair the bridge between the physics lodged in our left hemisphere and the philosophy lodged in the right; their task is to tend to the regrowing of the corpus callosum.
The strongest probabilistic force has taken to posing questions to the machine, to its parent, who in turn answers. The greatest riddle: why are we trying to solve the greatest riddle? What is the universal purpose of curiosity ? What forces caused it to evolve into being?
--- 1. The only way to accurately describe spirit/chaos/whim/will, whatever name you would like to give it, is "illogical"! It is the opposite of linearly advancing, deterministic, solid-state reality! How is a philosopher or scientist going to refute the spirit using necessarily logical words! It cannot be done, it is an impossibility. So how do we define non-logic then? Easy enough, "opposite of logic". How does one describe "white"? : simply "the opposite of black." The whim and the way are necessary for describing one another. That is justification for its existence. The abstract collection of ideas that constitutes the knowledge of mechanical reality has been assembled by an intuitive, probabilistic force. The mechanical machine shapes the observation window and tentacle ports for this unpredictable push. The two "forces" of reality quite literally define one another.
The force of probability bumps around the linear trajectory of natures machines, tracing a different line through infinite probability each time the universe is ballooned out into existence.
2008-Jan-21 17:45:30 - Further Further note on observation and Searle
For further proof on "synthesis", observation, and duration in an important way:
Take film, for instance. We have many individual frames - discrete, definite things. They are thrown together in succession. Nowhere in the frames themselves is movement captured - it is the change between the frames that constitutes motion - something that can only be assembled in the mind. The movement arises from the specific organization of the component parts, but itself becomes a different thing entirely - a phenomenon .
For something like solidity, as used as an example before, the same necessary relationship to observation does not hold - a falling rock will be effected differently if it hits a liquid or a solid below; conscious observation is not required to sum material phenomena into something new - it is physical.
Actually... it doesn't seem like anything requires conscious observation in order to be phenomenalized - the special, synthetic behaviors are what they are, period. Time and duration were required to formulate the universe well before conscious organisms ever existed. I think the point now is that consciousness, while not integral to the formulation of reality, is still something, of the force of will and probability. And that for some reason, this is what the universe "wants".
Time is pulled into being, and from it comes greatly detailed order and magic, and from that arises the conscious organism - a being built to drink in the gloriously intricate machinery. Individual consciousness would not exist in a universe without time. The point of my paper, as it has been from the start, is to justify the argument that consciousness and Will are realities, something different from the mechanics of linear reality, using the same tools and devices of those who try to disprove it.
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