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Meaning and Metabolism

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posted on Dec, 2 2016 @ 11:06 PM
Metabolism is a catch-all term for the cumulative transformation of the electrochemical activities of molecules through the structure of the body.

Were faced with a dilemma already: is the Human a dissipative structure, as described by Ilya Prigogine? It seems impossible to ignore - it's true: the human IS an animal - a biological system of around 75 trillion cells, made up of an estimated 10 octillion atoms. When we study chemistry in school, its seldom realized that what we are looking at is us. The chemical is not a thing - but a dynamical property - an ecological phenomenon held in place by the forces which collectively constitute it's place as a material "thing".

This applies to the chemical - the molecule - so imagine how this theme progresses when the macro-molecule emerges, and when macro-molecules develop symmetrical and dynamical correlated relations with one another as a way to best dissipate the stresses acting upon its organization - at all times, there is one continuous theme in operation: The relaxation of stresses towards equilibrium. The biophysicist Harold Morowitz emphasized this point in his final book on the origin of life, and it is a theme we find again and not merely in biology, but in everything we see - matter assumes the most relaxed relations, and what we see our cliff formations, the waves of the oceans, the movements of the clouds - these are all emergent structures, arising at a level of phenomenonality accessible to macrostructures like ourselves.

Meaning is there at the beginning of life - at least at a very abstract level, we see an important impliciation of the first principle of matter: to relax relations towards equilibrium. In a large dissipative system like a cell, the cells functioning remains fundamentally entrained to the "affordances" of the surrounding environment. The biophysicist Brian Goodwin, in thinking about how the physics of self-organization leads to the personalities of large-scale animals, sought to reconcile the molecular interactions with the overall 'field' of the organisms whole. The organism at large was like the tip of a pyramid - the "teleodynamism" of Terrence Deacons theorizing - it's particular raison d'etre. It's external structure was the most dynamically "coherent form" for being able to reproduce itself at this level of phenomenality. Because of this 'ascension' like quality to the development and progression of life - a literal increase in molecular elements - the ecologist Robert Ulanowicz conceptualized ecosystems in terms of ascendence, a concept equally applicable to the interacting elements within the dynamical 'whole' of the organism.

As a system, the highest system itself has an innumerable amount of subsystems, each dynamically and coherently related to the chemical and electromagnetic dynamics of the surrounding world. Necessarily, the neuron plays an essential role in mediating the macrolevel being of the organism within the dynamical structure of the dissipative system. The neuron is electromagnetic - and all activities in cells occur through the matrix of water - of which, according to the biochemist Gerald Pollacks, makes up around 99% of our body. The matrix is the easiest thing to ignore, yet the important discovery of waters 4th state - the crystalline helix - has lent much credence to the idea that water is the medium which coordinates the activities of the 'whole' with the dynamics of the parts.

Is it inevitable that science chug forward and reach the world of mysticism, and end up seeing a "formative double", as helping to constitute the electromagnetic correlations that generate the body's coherency? Given how the world looks, and given that everything is in fact connected - molecule by molecule - with everything else, is it really too strange to think that our minds - the liquid like flowing of our perceptivity - has some essential relationship with the flowing of our body's structure - mediated by the crystalline state of H20?

Meaning would then be synonymous with metabolism - a higher and more refined form - an emergent property that nature achieves by clarifying reality with greater and greater precision. Indeed, our later-cortices - our newest neurological add-on, is the first organ of the brain to be 'turned-off' when we experience stress. The limbic system is primarily a medial - middle of the brain - structure, moving from deep within the brainstem, to the amygdala-striatum area and outwards. Dysregulated feeling states are like dynamical-storms within the structural dynamics of neuronal-behavior. Neurotransmitters are being released and generated in excess, and the energy of the body and the flow of its blood suffuses the system with energy - exhausting the systems metabolic load, hence the exhaustion we feel after fights.

Isn't it obvious that goodness and love are coherent processes that aid and benefit our metabolism? Wouldn't feeling be the sign of meaning? And isn't the truest feelings those feelings which are properly correlated to the states of others i.e. with love? Could it be that the concept of "coherence" is the core of it all - and if this is the case, is there a state of perfect coherence? The Human imagination - particular in this banal-world, feels uncomfortable thinking about these things. It's just so incompatible with the world we've been suckling from - and in this suckling, would it not be legitimate to say that it is the feelings that we want - those feelings emergent from our development, and to which we feel the need to regenerate in the ways and manners - the ecology - of our action, between acting and perceiving, the feelings - the spirits: aren't these the "things" which regulate the flow of our mind-brain - and so, the dissipative structure of our bodies?

One can't escape the notion of a 'hive-like' relation between the activities of our minds. It's thought that certain capacities are just 'there', but this isn't true. The inescapable conclusion of the neuroscience of consciousness is that the brain is a hierarchically built structure, with an increase in neurological complexity - more quantitative units - functioning as a "dynamical constraint" on the functionality of limbic structures. Think of these higher level structures - frontal cortex in particular - as a phenomenonal 'brake system' that, like brakes, are real things, but execute their functonality by providing greater dexterity and subtly to the cars functionality. Higher level neuronal numbers - we have 86 billion, 16 of which are in the cortex, and 69 in the cerebellum - furthermore, is something that is intrinsically districtuted: the cerebellum has the vast majority of neurons in our brains, yet it is a small structure - hence, the neuron there are small. But why so many? This is the way the mind works: through metaphor, and so too the brain, where the dynamism of movement - mediated by the cerebellum - helps map and mediate communication between one body and another body: what is dance and song but matter extolling the meaning of its existence?

posted on Dec, 2 2016 @ 11:36 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte

Unable to know for sure: some have estimated that the human body has 10 trillion cells, while our digestive system contains 100 trillion bacteria, making us 10 times more bacterial than human.
Put that together with the concept of the millions of brain cells in our "second brain", our stomachs, and then think about those food cravings that we perceive.
Ever seen children eating handfuls of earth? Chewing on weird stuff?
Could perhaps just be another domain, where we fool ourselves, thinking we have freewill?

Sorry to focus only on a small part of your post, but your posts are so full of info, that it can be overwhelming to regular folks.
Loved how you ended it though, with a reaching-out to artistic souls.


posted on Dec, 3 2016 @ 12:55 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte

Are you questioning the meaning of existence?

What exists, has only one quality: to exist. That which exists, has existed forever, cannot stop existing. The realm of non-existence is already full of all the things that will never exist, leaving no room for the things that do exist.

Existence does not have to in any way shape or form have to justify its existence by asking 'why does it exist'. Also the question 'why do i exist, or what is the meaning of existence', is a question asked within existence. The question is subject to existence, existence is not subject to the question.

Existence is the one experiencing itself over and over and over again from different points of view. It fragments itself, it allows itself to forget, but it is always here and now.

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