[Fis] Focusing on Narratives

Loet Leydesdorff loet at leydesdorff.net
Fri Nov 30 07:06:48 CET 2018

Dear Pedro,

>To Loet, unfortunately real life does not allow such neat scheme of 
>expectations, observations, and modifications/decisions--except in the 
>abstract. Daily life is surrounded by multitude of behavioral cycles 
>and happenstances from the subject himself and from the surrounding 
>parties impinging on the subject. It is difficult to isolate 
>mainstreams there, and it is difficult to know how to orient oneself 
>for the troubled future.
This is called the context of discovery. Real life is neither an 
explanans nor an explanandum. Who wishes to explain happenstances?

This is strange.

>There are now ambitious theoretical schemes of neural information 
>processing that could provide light on other points of the conscious, 
>the emotional, the sensorimotor, the excitation/inhibition coupling, 
>the optimization of neural entropy, etc. But they have to connect with 
>natural behavior, and also finally with narratives.
>>I assume that your behaviour is more "natural" than mine.  Eventually, 
>>this may lead to narratives as bla-bla. Of course, everything has to 
>>be spelled out in an explanation.
>To Jerry's, after his four pages on perplex number system, I can only 
>say that great, terrific. It could have been an interesting 
>presentation for an ad hoc discussion session. I am tempted to twist a 
>few sentences of his text and to intercalate four pages or so on 
>signaling systems, or on the "sociotype", which is closer to the 
>current session. But that is not the scholarly way of discussion.
>To finalize, there is a provocative sentence in Bonnet's closing of his 
>book: "The one who tells the stories rules the world."
>Best wishes
>El 25/11/2018 a las 5:10, Loet Leydesdorff escribió:
>>Dear Pedro, Joseph, and colleagues,
>>Let me side with Joseph in this instance.
>>>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.
>>Perhaps, I miss the meaning of some of the wordings in this narrative 
>>:-), but it seems to me that there is something terribly wrong here. 
>>"The potential belongs ... to the "processual." We can consider this 
>>as "nom de gueux."
>>One always begins with the specification of expectations. I assume 
>>that these are then "processual"? Expectations (possible states) are 
>>tested against observations and can then sometimes be rejected.
>>For example: One can hypothesize that there are gender differences on 
>>this list. Then, one can cross-table those of us who on average 
>>publish 0, 1, or 2 postings with the gender differences (M/F).  This 
>>generates a 3 times 2  table.
>>Using the margin totals one can compute the expected values of each 
>>cell and test the observed values against the expectations. The 
>>expectations are "processual"? Indeed, they are possibilities which do 
>>not have to be realized. That is an empirical question.
>>Unfortunately, Logic-in-Reality works as a logic with only two values 
>>(T/F). This may lead to a poor design when one needs more grey shades.
>>Loet Leydesdorff
>>Professor emeritus, University of Amsterdam
>>Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
>>loet en leydesdorff.net <mailto:loet en leydesdorff.net>; 
>>Associate Faculty, SPRU, <http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/>University of 
>>Guest Professor Zhejiang Univ. <http://www.zju.edu.cn/english/>, 
>>Hangzhou; Visiting Professor, ISTIC, 
>>Visiting Fellow, Birkbeck <http://www.bbk.ac.uk/>, University of 
>>>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,
>>>>From: Fis [mailto:fis-bounces en 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,
>>>>Fis mailing list
>>>>Fis en listas.unizar.es
>>>Pedro C. Marijuán
>>>Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group
>>>pcmarijuan.iacs en aragon.es
>>>Libre de virus. www.avast.com 
>Pedro C. Marijuán
>Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group
>pcmarijuan.iacs en aragon.es
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