[Paleopsych] from Eshel Ben jacob

HowlBloom at aol.com HowlBloom at aol.com
Wed Nov 24 05:27:20 UTC 2004

Eshel--Before I get sidetracked by the thoughts you're inspiring, a question. 
 Can you or a grad student describe to us the  "new direct experimental 
evidences that support the picture", the ones that have emerged in the last two 
years.  These sound important.

Now down to thought-wandering.  A wonderful statement: "in short, yes the 
genome does think. But only if in the genome you include not only the sequence 
but the entire gestalt (enzymes proteins etc)."  The gestalt also includes 
structures like the cellular skeleton, the membrane, and the external communities 
within which the genome lives.  

I've just been rereading portions of "Meaning-Based Natural Intelligence
Information-Based Artificial Intelligence".  I've also been thinking of the 
diagrams with which you showed graphically that using math, you can derive 
higher orders of self from a collective.  

Meaning depends on a self of sense.  But there are multiple selves for any 
creature.  As "Meaning-Based Natural Selection" says, there is individual self, 
the self that says "gimme", the selfish cell.  Then there's self as a part of 
a subgroup...or of many subgroups.  There's also self as a sense of membership 
in the ubergroup--the colony.  And there may be senses of self that extend to 
the entire ecosystem that keeps a bacterial colony alive.  

There may even be a sense of self that applies to an entire species--or 
that's the implication of the work of David Smillie, a wonderful theorist who has, 
alas,retired and is no longer part of this group.  But if there is a sense of 
self that's chauvinistic about the survival of the species, there's also 
likely to be a sense of the species membership in a vastly extended ecosystem for 
whose survival individual creatures would fight.  This is true among humans.  
Is it true for our bacterial ancestors?

Meaning comes from which order of organism or superorganism you want to 
survive and to expand.  It comes from answering questions like "how do I take 
advantage of, avoid, or eliminate what's come across my path?"  Is the advantage 
you're looking for your own, that of your subculture, that of your ubergroup, 
that of your species, or that of the environment that makes it possible for your 
species to survive?

These are questions we humans have been dealing with since at least the first 
Earth Day in 1969.  Is it anthropomorphism or truth to say that concerns of 
this sort occasionally determine the choices made by our bacterial ancestors?  

ps  One more question, a question I've probably asked a zillion times in the 
past.  The work of James Shapiro points out that individual spiral arms of a 
bacterial colony separate from the motherlode of population at the colony's 
center, then become genetic lineages that are distinct and may even go through 
separate evolutionary histories.  In other words, the first generation of 
bacteria moving out of the motherlode at the colony's core divide and give birth to 
offspring that have never been in touch with the motherlode and that are not 
in direct reproductive contact with other bacterial groups branching out in 
other directions.  A hundred and a thousand generations later, the bacteria in 
one spiral arm have gone off in one genetic direction while bacteria in another 
spiral arm have drifted (or self-reengineered) in another direction.

Is there a sense of subcultural self among these spiral arms?  Do they 
compete?  Do they go up against each other as explorer bees do, attempting to gain 
influence and resources for their particular approach to life?  Do they go 
through what Global Brain, my second book, calls "creative bickering"--testing out 
new hypotheses on behalf of the group, then contributing to the collective 
thought process by battling peacefullyt over differences?

In a message dated 11/23/2004 9:03:59 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
shovland at mindspring.com writes:
Based on my observations on bacterial colonies I published a new picture of 
the creative genome in which I explained that based on rational arguments it 
has to be able to perform information processing, learn from experiments and 
even change itself accordingly.
During last two years there are new direct experimental evidences that 
support the picture. 
The community is willing to accept these ideas to the extend that I was 
invited to give a lecture at
a Nobel symposium meeting.

Howard Bloom
Author of The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of 
History and Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind From The Big Bang to the 
21st Century
Visiting Scholar-Graduate Psychology Department, New York University; Core 
Faculty Member, The Graduate Institute
Founder: International Paleopsychology Project; founding board member: Epic 
of Evolution Society; founding board member, The Darwin Project; founder: The 
Big Bang Tango Media Lab; member: New York Academy of Sciences, American 
Association for the Advancement of Science, American Psychological Society, Academy 
of Political Science, Human Behavior and Evolution Society, International 
Society for Human Ethology; advisory board member: Youthactivism.org; executive 
editor -- New Paradigm book series.
For information on The International Paleopsychology Project, see: 
for two chapters from 
The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History, 
see www.howardbloom.net/lucifer
For information on Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang 
to the 21st Century, see www.howardbloom.net
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