[Paleopsych] Eshel, Joel, Paul, and Pavel--not to mention Ted and Greg

HowlBloom at aol.com HowlBloom at aol.com
Sun Sep 4 04:29:35 UTC 2005

Very good thinking.  Below is the basic search pattern that I see in  life 
forms from bacteria to humans.  
I have a question.  Is this search pattern mirrored in inaminate  
evolution--in the 10 billion years of cosmic evolution that occurred before life  began?  
Is there an anolog or precursor to this pattern in the evolution of  
inanimate matter.  Howard
everyone is insecure.  insecurity is one of the things that keeps us attached 
to each other and  to society.  Uncertainty and the  nervous sense that we’d 
better get a quick reality check is one of the prime  movers of the group 
brain. insecurity is so basic to life that even ants and  bacteria get insecure.  
they need to  rub up against each other for reassurance over and over and over 
again.  chimps too.  They dash out of the group for an  adventure, get 
insecure as hell, dash back, and when they plunge into the warmth  of the crowd and 
rub up against as many of their sisters or brothers as it takes  to calm them 
down, they accomplish something more than mere self-comfort.  They give a bit 
of information on the  territory they’ve just explored.  Each does a little 
antenna-and-scouting work for the crowd.  Each gets a little from the antenna 
work  of her insecure sisters who’ve dashed out ebulliently to explore, then 
have  gotten the shivers and come back to share their experience and get some 
much  needed warmth.  Even when we move  into strange emotional territory, we 
need to dash back and share it with a  friend to make sure we’re sane and to get 
reassurance.  In the process we reveal a bit of  emotional exploration to the 
friend.  Ever wonder about why one of the largest churches in the history of  
mankind was able to make such an enormous business out of confession?  There 
are some things so shameful we  can’t even talk about them with our friends.  
So who’s in the business of listening to  what we don’t dare tell a soul?  Not 
 only listening and affirming us, but absolving us to boot?  Yes, the good  
old Catholic  Church.  Our insecurities keep us together as an  information 
processing engine.  Our  restlessness keeps us going off in new directions so we’
ll have something to  share.  Every time we panic and run  to talk to a friend 
we are providing new stuff for the data cruncher of society  to munch.  so 
what's true of chimps  and ants and microbes is gonna be true for you and me.
In a message dated 9/2/2005 11:00:57 AM Eastern Standard Time,  
obi.fox at gmail.com writes:

while I fundamentally agree with your position, my present fascination  with 
the neurophysiology of the biological mechanism leads me to suggest that  it 
may not be the function of "search" itself which will lead to the answer  you 
seek - but rather that of the manner in which it is mitigated and modified  by 
the function of avoidance.  As my grandfather (dean of physics at  Columbia 
for 30 yrs) taught me in my youth - one will never fully understand  the 
qualities of attraction unless you are able to account for the factor of  repulsion 
as well. 
When you look at much of the present research in neurophysiology a  pattern 
begins to appear in which "search" is the primary S/R response of the  biomass. 
 It is a pretty straight-forward, target oriented, response of  distance 
reduction.  The patterns or "strategies" only emerge when you  factor in the 
manner in which the braking mechanism (avoidance sequences)  operate simultaneously 
and change/redirect the movement and orientation. 
The third factor in the equation, which is usually overlooked, is the  role 
of proximity - particularly in relation to avoidance/repulsion.  I  strongly 
suspect that this combination (repulsion/proximity) is the factor  which 
Tsallis's equation takes into account. 
As I am not a physicist (just a philosopher with a fascination with the  
behavioral mechanism) I can't give you much more than this clue.  I am,  however, 
reasonably sure that it is the critical factor in the movement and  
orientation of sentient organisms and strongly suspect it is, as you suggest,  a 
reflection of the underlying physical laws of the universe. 
OBi Fox

On 8/31/05, _HowlBloom at aol.com_ (mailto:HowlBloom at aol.com)  
<_HowlBloom at aol.com_ (mailto:HowlBloom at aol.com) > wrote:  
Pavel, Joel, Paul, and Eshel— 
See if I've understood the following article  correctly.   
In this cosmos things don't follow the sort  of random spread of 
probabilities Ludwig Boltzmann believed in.   Instead, old patterns jump from one level to 
another, showing up in  new news.    
To understand the size and nature of the  jumps, we have to understand 
something even deeper—the search strategies  with which the cosmos explores what 
Stuart Kaufman calls "possibility  space".  
The key quote from the article below is this  one:  "if physicists  can 
adequately understand the details of this 'exploring behaviour', they  should be 
able to predict values of q from first principles ". 
Now please bear with me.   What I've been digging into for many decades is 
the manner in which  the cosmos feels out her possibilities—the search 
strategies of nature. So  have Eshel Ben-Jacob, Paul Werbos, Pavel Kurakin, and Joel 
Pavel and I, in our paper "Conversation  (dialog) model of quantum 
transitions" (arXiv.org) suggest that we may find  applications all up and down the 
scale of nature to one search strategy in  particular, that used by a cloud of 
20,000 smart particles—bees.  
Power laws help us move from the human-scale  to the very big.  They help us 
understand how patterns  visible on one scale—the scale of the spiral of water 
that flushes your  toilet, for example, can be scaled up to hurricanes, to 
vortex of the Red  Spot on the surface of Jupiter, to hurricanes on Jupiter the 
size of thirty  earths, and to the spirals of billions of stars called 
galaxies.  Power laws or their equivalent also allow us to predict  that if we give 
the cosmos another six or seven billion years, the spirals  from your toilet 
will show up in swirls of multitudes of galaxies—they will  show up in today's 
potato-shaped, still-embryonic galaxy clusters.   
Power laws can be used in forward or  reverse.  In addition to going from the 
small to the very  big, they can help us move from the human-scale to the 
very  small.  Power laws help us understand how the swirl in  your bathtub shows 
up in the swizzles of electrons twisting through a  channel on a 
On the level of life, we can see search  patterns at work, search patterns in 
Dennis Bray's clusters of receptors on  a cell wall, search patterns in Eshel 
Ben-Jacobs multi-trillion-member  bacterial colonies, search patterns in Tom 
Seeley's colonies of bees, search  patterns in E.O. Wilson's colonies of ants, 
and search patterns in colonies  of termites.  We can see search patterns in 
the motions of  birds, and in the way these patterns have been modeled 
mathematically in  Floys (mathematically-generated flocks of carnivorous Boids—see 
(http://www.aridolan.com/ofiles/JavaFloys.html) ). We can see  search patterns in Martha Sherwood's vampire 
bats, and search patterns in  the areas of my fieldwork--human cultural fads and 
fashions and the  multi-generational search patterns of art, religion, 
ideology, world-views,  and science.  
If search patterns are the key to  understanding the factor q, if they are 
the key to comprehending the magic  factor that scales things up and down in 
giant, discontinuous leaps, then  let's by all means take search patterns at the 
scale of life and apply them  like hell.  
That's exactly what Pavel Kurakin and I have  done in our paper.  And it's 
what I've done in much of my  work, including in a book that's been growing in 
the Bloom computer for  fifteen years-- A Universe In Search Of Herself—The 
Case of the Curious  Cosmos.  
Now the question is this.   Have I misinterpreted the material below?  And 
even  if I've mangled it utterly, could an understanding of search patterns at 
one  scale in the cosmos echo the patterns at other levels big and small?  If 
the search patterns of life are reflected in the  inanimate cosmos, do the 
search patterns of life in turn reflect the search  patterns of the particles and 
processes of which they are made?   And do the search patterns of an organism 
reflect the search patterns  of her flock, her tribe, her culture, and of the 
total team of  biomass?   
To what extent are competing search patterns  a part of the cosmic process?  
Did competing search  patterns only show up 3.85 billion years ago with the 
advent of life  (assuming that the advent of life on earth took place at the 
same time as  the advent of life—if there is any—elsewhere in the universe)?    
Are the gaps between competing search patterns also big ones, with  their own 
chasms and jumps spaced out by their own mysterious q? 
Biomass has been probing this planet for 3.85  billion years now, and we are 
the fingers with which she feels out her  possibilities.  But we are also the 
fingers through which  social clusters of protons 13.7 billion years old feel 
out their  future.  Is q related to the discipline of a probing  strategy? 
Retrieved August 31, 2005, from  the World Wide Web  
(http://www.newscientist.com/channel/fundamentals/mg18725141.700)   NewScientist.com  * HOME * |NEWS * |EXPLORE BY 
Click to Print Entropy: The new order   * 27 August  2005 * From New Scientist 
Print Edition. Subscribe and get 4 free issues. *  Mark Buchanan  CONSTANTINO 
TSALLIS has a single  equation written on the blackboard in his office. It looks 
like one of  the most famous equations in physics, but look more closely and 
it's a  little bit different, decorated with some extra symbols and warped into 
a  peculiar new form.   Tsallis, based at the Brazilian  Centre for Research 
in Physics, Rio de Janeiro, is excited to have created  this new equation. And 
no wonder: his unassuming arrangement of symbols  has stimulated hundreds of 
researchers to publish more than a thousand  papers in the past decade, 
describing strange patterns in fluid flows, in  magnetic fields issuing from the sun 
and in the subatomic debris created in  particle accelerators. But there is 
something even more remarkable about  Tsallis's equation: it came to him in a 
daydream.   In 1985, in a classroom in Mexico City, Tsallis was listening as a  
colleague explained something to a student. On the chalkboard they had  
written a very ordinary algebraic expression, pq, representing some number p  
raised to the power q In Tsallis's line of work - describing the collective  
properties of large numbers of particles - the letter "p" usually stands for  
probability: the probability that a particle will have a particular  velocity, say. 
Tsallis stared at the formula from a distance and his mind  drifted off. 
"There were these pqs all over the board," he recalls, "and it  suddenly came to my 
mind - like a flash - that with powers of probabilities  one might do some 
unusual but possibly quite interesting physics."  The physics involved may be 
more than quite interesting,  however. The standard means of describing the 
collective properties of  large numbers of particles - known as statistical 
mechanics - has been  hugely successful for more than a century, but it has also 
been rather  limited in its scope: you can only apply it to a narrow range of 
systems.  Now, with an insight plucked out of thin air, Tsallis may have changed 
all  that.  Developed in the 19th century, statistical  mechanics enabled 
physicists to overcome an imposing problem. Ordinary  materials such as water, 
iron or glass are made of myriad atoms. But since  it is impossible to calculate 
in perfect detail how every individual atom or  molecule will move, it seems 
as if it might never be possible to understand  the behaviour of such 
substances at the atomic level.    The solution, as first suggested by the Austrian 
physicist Ludwig  Boltzmann, lay in giving up hope of perfect understanding and 
working with  probabilities instead. Boltzmann argued that knowing the 
probabilities for  the particles to be in any of their various possible configurations 
would  enable someone to work out the overall properties of the system. Going 
one  step further, he also made a bold and insightful guess about these  
probabilities - that any of the many conceivable configurations for the  particles 
would be equally probable. Deeper beauty   Boltzmann's idea works, and has 
enabled physicists to make  mathematical models of thousands of real materials, 
from simple crystals to  superconductors. But his work also has a deeper 
beauty. For a start, it  reflects the fact that many quantities in nature - such as 
the velocities of  molecules in a gas - follow "normal" statistics. That is, 
they are closely  grouped around the average value, with a "bell curve" 
distribution.  The theory also explains why, if left to their own  devices, systems 
tend to get disorganised. Boltzmann argued that any system  that can be in 
several different configurations is most likely to be in the  more spread out and 
disorganised condition. Air molecules in a box, for  example, can gather 
neatly in a corner, but are more likely to fill the  space evenly. That's because 
there are overwhelmingly more arrangements  of the particles that will produce 
the spread out, jumbled state than  arrangements that will concentrate the 
molecules in a corner. This way of  thinking led to the famous notion of entropy 
- a measure of the amount  of disorder in a system. In its most elegant 
formulation, Boltzmann's  statistical mechanics, which was later developed 
mathematically by the  American physicist Josiah Willard Gibbs, asserts that, under 
many  conditions, a physical system will act so as to maximise its entropy.  And 
yet Boltzmann and Gibbs's statistical mechanics  doesn't explain everything: 
a great swathe of nature eludes its grasp  entirely. Boltzmann's guess about 
equal probabilities only works for systems  that have settled down to 
equilibrium, enjoying, for example, the same  temperature throughout. The theory fails 
in any system where  destabilising external sources of energy are at work, 
such as the haphazard  motion of turbulent fluids or the fluctuating energies of 
cosmic rays.  These systems don't follow normal statistics, but another 
pattern instead.  If you repeatedly measure the difference in fluid  velocity at two 
distinct points in a turbulent fluid, for instance, the  probability of 
finding a particular velocity difference is roughly  proportional to the amount of 
that difference raised to the power of some  exponent. This pattern is known 
as a "power law", and such patterns turn up  in many other areas of physics, 
from the distribution of energies of cosmic  rays to the fluctuations of river 
levels or wind speeds over a desert.  Because ordinary statistical mechanics 
doesn't explain power laws, their  atomic-level origins remain largely 
mysterious, which is why many  physicists find Tsallis's mathematics so enticing.  In  
Mexico City, coming out of his reverie, Tsallis wrote up  some notes on his 
idea, and soon came to a formula that looked something  like the standard 
formula for the Boltzmann-Gibbs entropy - but with a  subtle difference. If he set q 
to 1 in the formula - so that pq became  the probability p - the new formula 
reduced to the old one. But if q was not  equal to 1, it made the formula 
produce something else. This led  Tsallis to a new definition of entropy. He 
called it q entropy.  Back then, Tsallis had no idea what q might actually  
signify, but the way this new entropy worked mathematically suggested he  might be on 
to something. In particular, the power-law pattern tumbles  out of the theory 
quite naturally. Over the past decade, researchers have  shown that Tsallis's 
mathematics seem to describe power-law behaviour  accurately in a wide range 
of phenomena, from fluid turbulence to the debris  created in the collisions 
of high-energy particles. But while the idea  of maximising q entropy seems to 
work empirically, allowing people to fit  their data to power-law curves and 
come up with a value of q for individual  systems, it has also landed Tsallis 
in some hot water. The new mathematics  seems to work, yet no one knows what 
the q entropy really represents, or  why any physical system should maximise it. 
Degrees of chaos   And for this reason, many physicists remain sceptical, or 
worse. "I  have to say that I don't buy it at all," says physicist Cosma 
Shalizi of the  University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who criticises the 
mathematical  foundations of Tsallis's approach. As he points out, the usual Boltzmann  
procedure for maximising the entropy in statistical mechanics assumes a  fixed 
value for the average energy of a system, a natural idea. But to make  things 
work out within the Tsallis framework, researchers have to fix the  value of 
another quantity - a "generalised" energy - that has no clear  physical 
interpretation. "I have yet to encounter anyone," says Shalizi,  "who can explain why 
this should be natural."  To his  critics, Tsallis's success is little more 
than sleight of hand: the equation  may simply provide a convenient way to 
generate power laws, which  researchers can then fit to data by choosing the right 
value of q "My  impression," says Guido Caldarelli of La Sapienza University 
in Rome, "is  that the method really just fits data by adjusting a parameter. 
I'm not yet  convinced there's new physics here." Physicist Peter Grassberger 
of the  University of Wuppertal in Germany goes further. "It is all nonsense," 
he  says. "It has led to no new predictions, nor is it based on rational  
arguments."   The problem is that most work applying  Tsallis's ideas has simply 
chosen a value of q to make the theory fit  empirical data, without tying q to 
the real dynamics of the system in any  deeper way: there's nothing to show 
why these dynamics depart from  Boltzmann's picture of equal probabilities. 
Tsallis, who is now at the Santa  Fe Institute in New Mexico, acknowledges this 
is a limitation, but suggests  that a more fundamental explanation is already 
on its way.    Power laws, he argues, should tend to arise in "weakly chaotic"  
systems. In this kind of system, small perturbations might not be enough to  
alter the arrangement of molecules. As a result, the system won't "explore"  
all possible configurations over time. In a properly chaotic system, on the  
other hand, even tiny perturbations will keep sending the system into new  
configurations, allowing it to explore all its states as required for  Boltzmann 
statistics.   Tsallis argues that if physicists can adequately understand the  
details of this "exploring behaviour", they should be able to predict values  
of q from first principles . In particular, he proposes, some as  yet unknown 
single parameter - closely akin to q - should describe the  degree of chaos in 
any system. Working out its value by studying a system's  basic dynamics would 
then let physicists predict the value of q that then  emerges in its 
statistics.   Other theoretical work seems  to support this possibility. For example, 
in a paper soon to appear in  Physical Review E, physicist Alberto Robledo of 
the National Autonomous  University of Mexico in Mexico City has examined 
several classic models  that physicists have used to explore the phenomenon of 
chaos. What makes  these models useful is that they can be tuned to be more or 
less  chaotic - and so used to explore the transition from one kind of  
behaviour to another. Using these model systems, Robledo has been able to  carry out 
Tsallis's prescription, deriving a value of q just from studying  the system's 
fundamental dynamics. That value of q then reproduces intricate  power-law 
properties for these systems at the threshold of chaos. "This work  shows that q 
can be deduced from first principles," Tsallis says.  While Robledo has 
tackled theoretical issues, other  researchers have made the same point with real 
observations. In a paper  just published, Leonard Burlaga and Adolfo Vinas at 
NASA's Goddard Space  Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, study fluctuations 
in the properties  of the solar wind - the stream of charged particles that 
flows outward from  the sun - and show that they conform to Tsallis's ideas. They 
have found  that the dynamics of the solar wind, as seen in changes in its 
velocity and  magnetic field strength, display weak chaos of the type envisioned 
by  Tsallis. Burlaga and Vinas have also found that the fluctuations of the  
magnetic field follow power laws that fit Tsallis's framework with q set to  
1.75 (Physica A, vol 356, p 275).  The chance that a  more comprehensive 
formulation of Tsallis's q entropy might eventually be  found intrigues physicist 
Ezequiel Cohen of the Rockefeller University in  New York City. "I think a good 
part of the establishment takes an unfair  position towards Tsallis's work," 
he says. "The critique that all he does is  'curve fitting' is, in my opinion, 
misplaced."   Cohen has  also started building his own work on Tsallis's 
foundations. Two years  ago, with Christian Beck of Queen Mary, University of  
London, he proposed an idea known as "superstatistics" that  would incorporate the 
statistics of both Boltzmann and Tsallis within a  larger framework.   In 
this work they revisited the  limitation of Boltzmann's statistical mechanics. 
Boltzmann's models cannot  cope with any system in which external forces churn 
up differences such as  variations in temperature. A particle moving through 
such a system would  experience many temperatures for short periods and its 
fluctuations would  reflect an average of the ordinary Boltzmann statistics for 
all those  different temperatures. Cohen and Beck showed that such averaged 
statistics,  emerging out of the messy non-uniformity of real systems, take the 
very same  form as Tsallis statistics, and lead to power laws. In one striking 
example,  Beck showed how the distribution of the energies of cosmic rays could 
emerge  from random fluctuations in the temperature of the hot matter where 
they  were originally created.   Cohen thinks that, if  nothing else, Tsallis's 
powers of probabilities have served to reawaken  physicists to fundamental 
questions they have never quite answered. After  all Boltzmann's idea, though 
successful, was also based on a  guess; Albert Einstein disliked Boltzmann's 
arbitrary assumption of "equal  probabilities" and insisted that a proper theory 
of matter had to rest on a  deep understanding of the real dynamics of 
particles.    That understanding still eludes us, but Tsallis may have taken us  
closer. It is possible that, in his mysterious q entropy, Tsallis has  discovered 
a kind of entropy just as useful as Boltzmann's and especially  suited to the 
real-world systems in which the traditional theory fails.  "Tsallis made the 
first attempt to go beyond Boltzmann," says Cohen. The  door is now open for 
others to follow. Close this window Printed on Thu Sep  01 01:17:25 BST 2005 
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
Recent Visiting Scholar-Graduate Psychology Department, New York  University; 
Core Faculty Member, The Graduate Institute
_www.howardbloom.net_ (http://www.howardbloom.net/) 
_www.bigbangtango.net_ (http://www.bigbangtango.net/) 
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: Institute for 
Accelerating Change ;  executive editor -- New Paradigm book series. 
For information on The  International Paleopsychology Project, see: 
_www.paleopsych.org_ (http://www.paleopsych.org/) 
for two chapters from 
The  Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History, 
see  _www.howardbloom.net/lucifer _ (http://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  _ 

paleopsych  mailing list
_paleopsych at paleopsych.org _ (mailto:paleopsych at paleopsych.org) 

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
Recent 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: Institute for 
Accelerating Change ; 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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