Four and a half billion years ago, the planet Earth was formed, and it was utterly without life. And so it stayed for perhaps half a billion years, until the first simple life-forms emerged, and then for the next three billion years or so, the planet's oceans teemed with life, but it was all blind and deaf. Simple cells multiplied, engulfing each other, exploiting each other in a thousand ways, but oblivious to the world beyond their membranes. Then finally much larger, more complex cells evolved "eukaryotes" still clueless and robotic, but with enough internal machinery to begin to specialize. So it continued for a few hundred million more years, the time it took for the algorithms of evolution to stumble upon good ways for these cells and their daughters and granddaughters to band together into multicellular organisms composed of millions, billions, and (eventually) trillions of cells, each doing its particular mechanical routine, but now yoked into specialized service, as part of an eye or an ear or a lung or a kidney. These organisms (not the individual team members composing them) had become long distance knowers.

...we human beings, unlike all other species on the planet, are knowers. We are the only ones who have figured out what we are, and where we are, in this great universe. And we're even beginning to figure out how we got here. - conscious selves - In just one species, our species, a new trick evolved: language. It has provided us a broad highway of knowledge-sharing, on every topic. Conversation unites us, in spite of our different languages.- Now, for the first time in its billions of years of history, our planet is protected by far-seeing sentinels, able to anticipate danger from the distant future - a comet on a collision course, or global warming - and devise schemes for doing something about it. The planet has finally grown its own nervous system: us.

Daniel C. Dennet
Freedom Evolves
Viking 2003

Bentley pg 38

Evolution: Evolution is an immensely powerful process. It operates on geological timescales, and yet can also cause changes in a matter of months. We can see the power of evolution in its actions: the result of revolution are spectacular, and indeed they form the basis of all the computing techniques described in this book. But the true power of evolution comes not from what it does but in the way that it does it to. In other words, before we can use evolution on our computers we must explore the workings of evolution - just how and why do things evolve? Evolution has of a specific and really quite simple meaning: it is a gradual process of directed change. But one cannot just call any such process evolutionary. Three elements play in the starring roles in evolutionary process: Reproduction with inheritance, selection and variation

Unlike natural evolution, which operates in the physical universe of atoms, molecules, chemicals and physical laws, language evolution operates in a different medium. Our language is involved in the conceptual universe made up of brains, books, speech and writing. Bentley38

Wolff-Michael Roth
Cybernetics And Human Knowing. Vol. 1O, no. 2, pp. 8-28
Abstract: Cultural‑historical approaches to knowing and learning emphasize that the unit of analysis of cognition needs to be activity, which includes the mediation of actions by existing tools, community, rules, and division of labor. In this article, I show how psychogenesis and the mediated nature of cognition can be reconstructed by employing a materialist dialectical approach. I illustrate the last step in psychogenesis and anthropogenesis, the step from which human activity derives its mediated and dialectical nature. I conclude my expose with a description of recent social theories that successfully theorize cultural practices because they explicitly model this mediated and dialectical nature of human activities.

Keywords: Cultural-historical activity, agency, structure, dialectics, evolution, anthropogenesis, cultural primatology, phenomenological sociology,
cultural sociology -
pg 12
From Environmental Adaptation to Adaption of the Enviromnent:
On Becoming Human
...psychogenesis occurred in the context of life processes and that the life process itself has become historical in nature, having emerged as a qualitatively new basic form from processes that predate cultural-historical ones. The unit of analysis in the categorical reconstruction is the functional relation between individual and its umwelt, the environment it senses: (Uexküll, 1973). This functional relation inherently is a dialectical unit that modern social theories conceptualize as "structures," which place material resources at one pole and schema at the other (Sewell, 1992). This functional relation, in the opposition with agency gives rise to behavior, changes itself in the course of evolution, whereby qualitatively new forms of relations emerge from more elementary precursors.
The reconstruction of psychogenesis focuses on repeated emergence of qualitatively new forms of psychic processes from earlier, more elementary (prepsychic) life processes (Varela & Depraz, 2000). To show that the corresponding change from quantity to quality is plausible, five analytical steps are required for each qualitatively new psychic process (Holzkamp, 1983).



EVOLUTION OF LIFE : John Maynard-Smith and Eörs Szathmary

THE ORIGINS OF LIFE Oxford 1999 : The major transitions

Life - Autocatalysis - Membrane - templates (MUSTER - patterns) - navigare necesse est - Adaption - Intelligence - self-awareness - tower of persistent systems: photons, particles, atoms, molecules, autocatalytic networks, self reproducing systems, adaptive systems, intelligence and mind - society.
Life - Autocatalysis - Encapsulation - Templates
... three vital mechanisms - autocatalysis as a means of self-assembly, encapsulation to key parts of the network together and different kinds of network apart, and the use of templates to isolate the recipe from the function and so increase the chances of further progress. Once all three mechanisms have been discovered by chemistry, then a new highly persistent phenomenon emerged on Earth, one we call life.

COSMOLOGY: Parallel Universes Max Tegmark

Steven Strogatz
The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order
Theia 2003-09-09
pg 1
Keywords: the sound of cycles in sync - synchrony occurs spontaneously - the existence of spontaneous order in the universe - The laws of thermodynamics seem to dictate the opposite, that nature should inexorably degenerate toward a state of greater disorder, greater entropy. Yet all around us we see magnificent structures, galaxies, cells, ecosystems, human beings, that have somehow managed to assemble themselves. This enigma bedevils all of science today -
The impressive kind of sync is persistent - study of "coupled oscillators - Groups of fireflies, planets, or pacemaker cells are all collections of oscillators - entities that cycle automatically, that repeat themselves over and over again at more or less regular time intervals - the mathematics of nature - Two coupled oscillators would be no challenge, their behavior has been understood since the early 1950s. But for questions involving hundreds or thousands of oscillators, we're still in the dark. The nonlinear dynamics of systems with that many variables is still beyond us -






Steve Grand Creation pg 73
Keywords : emergence - interactions - When populations of interacting structures become arranged in certain configurations, and something new and surprising comes into existence, we call this an emergent phenomenon - Conway's Game of Life: glider - logical reasoning - prediction - we could, in principle, predict the existence of a glider from the rules of Life, but only by actually carrying these rules out, simulating the system - Matter is just one link in the chain of being . Atoms are no more real than societies or minds. Hardware is a subset of software - self-sustaining patterns in space and time - The interconnectedness of all things - self-organizing chains of cause and effect - 'problem' of how mind has influence over matter is spurious. Since the two are not distinct, the idea that one can affect the other should not be at all difficult to accept - purposeful action - cause and effect act in webs, not chains - think of the information acting upon the brain at least as much as we think of the brain acting on the information - gestalt: form, the whole that is greater than the sum of its parts - Life, we discover, is a loose coalition of selfmaintaining eddies in a flowing stream. When the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts something new and perfectly real comes into existence. This gestalt is not mysterious, but neither is it a figment of our imagination - the basic buildin blocks of cause and effect.



A book which gives a good introduction to these THEMES is Steven Grand's "Creation".

CONSCIOUSNESS : consciousness studies

emergent properties of complex systems:

F. Eugene Yates
Self-organising Systems

How Matter becomes Imagination 
Basic 2000 

Ursprung von Geist und Bewusstsein 
Peter Walde, Pier Luigi Luisi (Hrsg.) 
Vom Ursprung des Universums zu Evolution des Geistes

Stuart A.Kauffman
Oxford University Press 
Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of Investigations, both as process and the resulting book, was my puzzled realization that the way Newton, Einstein, and Bohr taught us to do science may be incomplete. You see, in following their cornerstone examples of physics, we are taught to prestate the particles, forces, laws and initial and boundary conditions, then compute the consequences. In this enterprise, we are able to state ahead of time what the full space of possibilities is, that is, we can finitely prestate the configuration space of possibilities of the system in question. This capacity to prestate the configuration space, for example, is the central conceptual presupposition of the classical statistical mechanics of a liter of gas in its 6N-dimensional phase space of all possible positions and momenta of the N particles of gas. But I was, to my deep surprise, led to doubt that we can ever prestate the configuration space of a biosphere

the configuration space of a biosphere.....




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