Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Market Freedoms Relative to Resource Placement

Expressed Mathematics of Germ-Line Mutations generated a number of fervent responses. Here, we'll look at one of those.

John wrote:
[P]ointing out where your math is wrong. You said: The other variable involved… is 5,000,000,000,000 cells. As I have already pointed out, that is a meaningless number. It is not a “variable” that can be applied to the chances or regularity of mutations. The largest Blue Whale today has 100 quadrillion cells. Quite the number, yes? Diplodocus’s [Eds. note: sic] had many, many more. Cells are easy. Get the template and it’s just a game of replication to meet the need. Big lungs, small lungs, it doesn’t matter. And I remind you, you then said that is five trillion pieces of genetic code that need to be affected, in order to transform those lungs, over four billion years, from ocean-respirating lungs to air-respirating lungs. Errrum, no. Dead, dead, dead wrong. The mutation need only occur in one cell...

High Arka responds:

John,

You're correct that many different cells can be made from the "template" in the DNA. Good show! What you're not understanding, though, is that there are many different types of cells in the body. These cells generally correspond to a number of complex bodily systems. For example: the "cardiovascular system," or the "nervous system." (These systems are all integrated, and the distinction is an artificial one, but it serves a differential purpose for our discussion, here.)

Within these "systems," there are subdivisions of smaller systems, such as the limbic system within the nervous system. Within those sub-systems, there are sometimes other sub-sub-systems, and within those components, at a lower scale, we reach the cells themselves. (DNA also encodes the designs for intra-cellular components, as well as their placement, but we'll keep things simple and stick to just the level of "the cell," for now.)

Now, you're correct that those cells are made from a "template" in the DNA. However, the production of a type of cell is only one of the pieces of information that the DNA includes regarding that cell.

The DNA templates for the nervous system include the cells that make up the different sub-systems and other materials found inside various parts of the nervous system. This includes cell placement, which is why the total mass of the organism is of great importance in considering cellular sequence mutation. For example, the nervous system includes, among other things:

1) Glial cells;

2) Myelinated nerve cells and myelinated axons;

3) Neuropil;

4) Capillary endothelial cells.

Now, the glial cells appear in both white matter and gray matter, where they help to process cognitive functions. However, they need to be very specifically located in order to achieve this task. A bicycle, for example, can help a person travel faster--but only if that person is on the bicycle. If the bicycle is located a mile away, the bicycle cannot be used to help that person travel faster.

An organism's DNA provides information relevant to the growth of the proper kind of cell--such as the capillary endothelial cells that appear in cerebrospinal fluid--but also to the proper placement of that cell within the organism. The result of this is that cerebrospinal fluid tends to appear in the spine, cushioning the brain inside the skull, and other appropriate places--but not in sacs growing from your toenails. Whereas cerebrospinal fluid is vital for life inside your spine and your brain-case, it could be deadly if it were being produced in other areas of your body--such as your bone marrow, your heart, or your lungs. Or your kidneys, or your liver, or your appendix, etc.

These adjustments to positioning are delicate things to manage, because even a single inch of deviation can mean the difference between cerebrospinal fluid passing safely through the vertebrae, or filling the chest cavity and killing the organism.

Every mutation which happens to a germ-line during reproduction, therefore, in order to produce a successful offspring, has to include information for the proper positioning of the cell. Not only would a lung cell sequence have to mutate so as to begin producing certain kinds of new cells, it would have to mutate so as to position those new cells in the proper places. Were the cells improperly positioned, they would interfere with the operation of other cells, and be, essentially, a tumor.

Smaller, simpler organisms can evolve faster as a result of this. That is why the evolution of, say, e.coli, is much easier to study than the evolution of, say, elephants. Or diplodocuses.

I know it seems like a wonderfully simple, elegant explanation for you to think, "All it takes is a small change in the DNA!" In actuality, the DNA contains much, more more information than "how to make cells." It specifies where to make them, as we've discussed in more detail here. It also specifies when to make them. E.g., certain hormones appear during infancy, during childhood, during puberty, at menopause, etc. A vast amount of information is included in those sequences. A small adrenal adjustment timed to appear during infancy would kill a baby boy, whereas its absence during puberty would prevent adult development.

(DNA also encodes information about cell quantity, e.g., how many of a certain type of cell to produce. This is why some people are little people and some people are 6'10". It's also why any given diplodocus grows to a certain size, rather than becoming a super-diplodocus, a mini-diplodocus, et cetera.)

When that information goes wrong in certain ways, we call it cancer. Cells that appear in the wrong places, or that reproduce at an improper rate, draw resources from the rest of the body, interfere with the operation of other systems, and frequently cripple or kill their hosts. In order for Alexandra to properly evolve from water-breathing lungs to air-breathing lungs, she has to ensure that the reproductive cycles discussed in Expressed Mathematics of Germ-Line Mutations results not only in the gradual replacement of the water-breathing lung by the air-breathing lung, but also the lack of insertion of any of the lung cells into other bodily systems, or the invasion of the lung by any non-lung cells that would kill the resulting generations of Alexandras.

If you're inclined to foreshadowing, take a look at cancer (or "autoimmune diseases," lol) for just that reason: cancer is real evolution--coordinated evolution--happening between an industrially poisoned ecosystem and the pre-industrial bodies still living in that ecosystem. Cancer amazes us with its swiftness in overtaking our population and coordinating with our environmental and lifestyle choices because we've been led to believe that evolution is a slow, random process, rather than one of continual feedback with the planetary system from which these bodies grew. Before our very eyes, we're seeing our bodies begin to evolve new internal systems for processing abundant post-industrial toxins--the replacement of one type of lightform with another.

Enjoy your trip. I know I have.

9 comments:

  1. Alrighty then: how exactly is evolution being 'guided' and 'integrated'? By whom/what? Towards what? When?

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    1. Lightform Evolution touches on that issue. Evolution is the process by which matter is reorganized to create increasingly efficient means of channeling light.

      We take it for granted--although we don't understand exactly why--gravity keeps pulling things together. We also take it for granted that light is always going somewhere. There is never "stationary" light, and as Einstein brushed against, one's rate of travel proportionate to the "speed" of light is integral to one's passage through time.

      Evolution is part of the same process: matter is constantly being rearranged so that it can serve as a conduit for increasing quantities of light.

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    2. So why does the universe 'want' to spread more light around? If so, what better conduit for light than the absolute nothingness of vacuum in space?

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    3. Does water 'want' to have surface tension? Do apples 'want' to fall from trees? See, e.g., Molecular Hugging.

      One of light's properties is that it travels across all existential fields. The psialtic field establishes guidelines for large matter movements, including the physical laws which govern "vacuum."

      (A vacuum isn't true nothingness, but rather, is a span of physical existence that is conducive to being filled by matter. It is subject to the same physical principles as the rest of the psialtic verse. That's wholly different from actual nothingness, which is defined by its lack of any existential rules. A psialtic vacuum is more of a blank page of paper than it is a lack of paper. When a stick figure on the page looks at the empty spot and thinks, "That is nothingness," the stick figure is in error.)

      When light appears to be moving through the "nothingness" of our vacuum, it's just waving its way across the psialtic field (often creating additional vacuum as it travels, by expanding said field). When it condenses within that vacuum, it begins producing conduits, e.g. "matter."

      That's just what it does. Ergo its transfers will continue, ergo material structures will continue to grow more complex, powerful, and efficient.

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    4. Apologies--didn't address the second part of your question. The energy channeled by material interactions increases in intensity proportionate to the design efficiency of the material conduit. E.g., stars are a more intense conduit than space, and human brains are a more intense conduit (per their mass) than stars, and so forth.

      Light seeks more powerful channels in the same way that a river seeks to burst through larger and larger cracks in a dam.

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  2. Pound for pound, brains may be more energy-intensive than stars, but even so, what's the point given that the Sun will burn everything on earth within 3 bln years and then it will be back to a higher entropy state?

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    1. What's the point of spring, given winter? Cyclical dissipations are built into everything to prevent mortifying stasis.

      Supernovae resulted in the improved complexities of our Terra. Not only does such dispersal result in the increased carbon concentrations that built this stage of reactors, it protects different sections of space by allowing for regeneration after a time of transfer. Compare the process to a community which allows a rich field to lie dormant for a few years (anglicized to "fallow," which unfortunately includes tilling as part of the process), which results in a short term loss that seems wasteful to selfish idiots, while improving the aggregate production rate over sustainable generations.

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  3. Well it makes sense in the abstract, but it's a pickle: many, perhaps most, people are convinced that their selves matter the most as they are now (and the loss is a tragedy). the problem is, although they cannot justify this belief rationally, it is similarly impossible to rationally talk them out of it.

    In this context, to say that "lightspring evolves, it's just what it does", offers virtually no existential improvement over "it's all random and pointless". Hence, the idea what it evolves to and how our lives may relate to it is certainly not to be brushed off the way quantum physicists brush off objections that although the equations "work", they offer little insight into our everyday world.

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    1. Good point. Consider, then, the model whereby increasingly sophisticated types of consciousness are able to channel more and more pure forms of light. Purely mental sensations, like the other senses our shells have, are equally connected to light channeling, albeit on a higher level. We touch, taste, smell, etc. as a result of consciousness being able to better process matter reactions in order to produce reactors more efficient than our bodies (by building stuff through the conscious manipulation of matter); so, too, do we receive sensory feedback when we channel more intense lights in more elegant ways.

      Why care? Well, we don’t particularly have to. Why would we want orgasms ten times (or a trillion times) more intense than the ones here, and why would we want to immerse ourselves in the satisfaction of having, say, a thousand of the truest, deepest, closest friends, always and ever, inside our heads all the time in our own memory complex, warm fuzzies like it’s hard to remember sometimes when you're here? Those mere sensations are just illusory products of brain chemicals, we tell ourselves, but even if so, we tend to pursue them--and to feel somewhat gratified when they’re obtained. The more aware our EM reactors grow as a side effect of this process, the more intense, and completely new, those by-products will be. Love, or bliss, or spatial-arrangement appreciation; whatever.

      For us, it seems really profound if we’re “happy” or if we feel “pleasure,” so if we’re inexperienced with them, we tend to view our sensations in a pejorative way. E.g., “Oh, that’s wishful thinking on my part, to think I’m going to get something good.” Attitudes like that about our sensations, though, exhibit not that we’re thinking wishfully, but actually that we’re assigning too much importance to ourselves and what we feel. A bunch of bliss isn’t really the world-staggering, impossible sensation for light that it is for us, though we tend to overstate its importance when evaluating our own motives. When we criticize ourselves for hoping too much, we’re much like a baby believing that finding an empty toilet-paper roll (the greatest toy in the world) would be paradise.

      For most people, an eternity of endlessly expanding discoveries they’d consider pleasurable is “worth it,” even if it’s just a ruse perpetrated on us by the flow of the one river.

      Viewed only as a Terran theory, trends of increasingly complex consciousness support that part of the lightform model. Does a blade of grass have multiple orgasms? Does a snake find itself moved to tears of joy by the symphony? Does a rock feel blissful acceptance as it snuggles up next to an old friend? No. The sensations that we privately yearn for are the side effects of our EM fields brushing closer to true light, and we probably won’t mind the “rewards” (as we might call them) of becoming increasingly conscious.

      (So, uhh, God is love, right?)

      ;-)

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