[Fis] Anticipatory Systems--"Potential"

Pedro C. Marijuan pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es
Sat Nov 24 21:16:17 CET 2018

Dear FISers,

My only addition to the below would be a further reflection on what 
"potential" could mean when applied to the life course of a human 
individual or other complex living. If we go too fast in the connection 
with physics, we may leave aside some very interesting aspects, 
precisely the deep connection with the humanities. It is an intriguing 
coincidence that perhaps the two best works on narratives (Booker 2004; 
Bonnet, 2006; that I have already mentioned) are both written... from 
the perspective of Jungian psychology/psychiatry. Terms such as 
archetypes, unconscious, complexes, repression, initiation, regression, 
shadow, rebirth, etc.  appear not always with a clear necessity. I mean 
their profound analysis of narratives (the former more concerned with 
the literary, the latter with the filmic) probably could be crafted in a 
more neutral conceptualization. I do not consider unscientific the 
Jungian stance, but not quite scientific either. Mobilizing the 
unconscious is one of the crucial points to handle by the effective 
narrative according to these authors. But what is the unconscious? It is 
not far more accurate considering the brain-rest activation of 
contemporary neuroscience (Default Mode Network) as taking charge of 
that involuntary emergence of impressions and deep memories? And, 
similarly, does not "potential" refer to cognitive/anticipatory 
capabilities that somehow detect higher fitness possibilities along some 
behavioral paths than others, and then conduce to the long term 
realization and flourishing of a life cycle? The potential belongs, say, 
to the "processual" not to the physical. In my view, the general 
challenge is to re-explain narratives, the fundamental commodity of 
social communication, in a more advanced conceptualization, beyond the 
Jungian, the Shannonian, or the corrosive fake-correctedness  of our 
times... It can be done. The neuroscientific approach would be badly 
needed to recreate the terminology and the fundamental ideas.

Best regards

  El 21/11/2018 a las 9:31, Joseph Brenner escribió:
> Dear Colleagues,
> Pedro’s approach, solidly anchored in biology, allows for progress in 
> understanding. Two comments on his ‘logic’: 1) I would not call the 
> ‘concoction’ within which we live imaginary. It is rather a set of 
> real, dynamic mental processes, with actual and potential, effectively 
> causal components. 2) ‘Complex life’ instantiates potential (and 
> kinetic) energy not only in a ‘book keeping role’. Complex life is 
> constituted by actual and potential energy evolving in cycles and 
> stages. Some myths (Epimetheus and Prometheus) correctly express this 
> duality and its evolution.
> Unfortunately, there is another myth that I believe correctly models 
> part of Jerry’s proposals. It is that of Procrustes, an innkeeper who 
> stretched or cut the legs of his guests to make them fit the only 
> available beds, until taken care of by Heracles. You write: A lot more 
> needs to be said about the intimate nature of relations among 
> scientific narratives before one can bind the logic of the perplex 
> number system to the grammars associated with mathematically 
> structured anticipatory systems.
> This sentence needs to be parsed, given the concatenation of terms: in 
> my opinion, the purpose of understanding the relations among 
> scientific narratives is to understand real anticipatory systems, 
> whether or not mathematically structured. Perplex numbers are 
> artificial numerological constructions with a corresponding logic that 
> may or may not apply to other artificial constructions, such as 
> abstract anticipatory systems, without dynamics. Narratives about real 
> science could be applied in principle to such questions, but the 
> implication must be avoided that such application would tell us 
> anything about reality.
> I cannot accept any manipulation of numbers as being more than /a 
> posteriori. /This applies also to Karl’s approach. Also, the concept 
> of an ‘in-/formed/’ number is an oxymoron, although I understand the 
> attempt to ascribe ‘value-by-association’, so to speak. Numbers cannot 
> accept ‘form’, or its meaning; they exist, eternally, outside the 
> world of form and change.
> I thus stress the importance of Pedro’s statement:  processes do not 
> go smoothly upwards from the quantum level.As one proceeds to higher 
> levels of reality, there are discontinuities and different laws apply. 
> One only notes the presence of some isomorphisms, such as the failure 
> of some macroscopic process equations to commute or distribute. 
> Finally, I, at least, will resist any attempts to let in, through the 
> back door, anti-scientific concepts of quantum processes in mind and 
> cognition.
> Best wishes,
> Joseph
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:*Fis [mailto:fis-bounces at listas.unizar.es] *On Behalf Of *Pedro 
> C. Marijuan
> *Sent:* mardi, 20 novembre 2018 21:15
> *To:* fis
> *Cc:* Jerry LR Chandler
> *Subject:* Re: [Fis] Anticipatory Systems--"Potential"
> Dear Jerry and FIS colleagues,
> I wonder how big or how clever your Chemostat apparatus should be. 
> There are thousands of metabolic intermediates in an organism, and 
> there are another thousands of diversified signals. And we have in the 
> order of 30 billion cells (trillions in the US system). Plus around 
> 100 trillion of bacterial cells in the microbiome. "We" are the 
> emergence all of that molecular diversity. It does not mean that life 
> exactly "controls" all the details of the mega-information of this 
> whole system... How that control is organized, the principles of 
> biological information, so to speak, become another great question, 
> but probably very different from the idea of mass control in a 
> chemostat. In any case, the way you have argued it, seemingly smoothly 
> going upwards from the quantum level, is beyond of what I consider 
> feasible. Scientific overstretching of a reasonable paradigm perhaps.
> Socially, indeed, we do not try to communicate around by following a 
> colossal strategy of reducing happenstances to their quantum 
> description; neither to the kind of meta-languages you mention. In 
> general, social communication revolves around narratives. They are not 
> free-wheeling constructions (at least referring to the "great stories" 
> of all epochs) but optimized tools to guide individuals in the 
> advancement of their lives, in the achievement of their "potential". 
> Looking at the historical evolution of those great stories, they are 
> teaching us about which were the cardinal aspects of common life to be 
> specifically grasped by the child, by the adolescent, by the maiden, 
> the artisan, the warrior, the priest... And in this social 
> communication endeavors, life cycles do not appear as homogeneous 
> linearly "timed". Human lives are continuously looking ahead, 
> anticipating ("Prometheus" style) but simultaneously looking at the 
> past and pondering on it ("Epimetheus" style). Although "presentists", 
> we live within an imaginary concoction built of mosaic pasts and 
> futures, "multi-timed" so to speak. The way to harmonize past, 
> present, and future (vital information) is one of the leit motifs of 
> those great stories.
> And about cycles, so many of them can be found. At the scale of the 
> organism:  cellular & tissular cycles, metabolic cycles, behavioral 
> cycles, ultradian cycles, circadian cycles, seasonal cycles, yearly 
> cycles, secular cycles, and many others related to social mores. Some 
> of them can be arranged in a sort of hierarchy or inclusivity, but 
> there is a fundamental diversity. That most of this orchestration of 
> cycles does not require a conscious effort does not mean that we 
> should ignore them concerning the roots of social communication. The 
> cycles and stages (and "passages") within a life cycle have an ominous 
> presence. As i was saying, the "potential" of each young life in 
> ascend requires the reception of wisdom (via social communication 
> narratives) to integrate the own individual path within the social 
> matrix of the time.
> Thinking twice about the "potential" of life, it might be something 
> important to consider regarding any form or manifestation of life. 
> Perhaps better than the Principle of Conatus from Spinoza I was 
> referring days ago (the effort to self-maintain and flourish). Complex 
> life has "potential" to advance along some multi-time, multi-cycle 
> developmental path in the most complex of all environments: the social 
> matrix. Is there some deep similarity of this potential with the role 
> that "potential" energy plays in our book-keeping of energy conservation?
> Thanking the comments,
> Best--Pedro
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Pedro C. Marijuán
Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group

pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es

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