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Systematics: harmonizing fact and value
Friday, 24 August 2007
Backup blog

On second thought, this blog will serve as a back-up blog for my blogspot blog. You never know what is going to crash when..

 The new blog is all about integrative science & philosophy. It is a natural philosophy about science in general, including the sciences, psychology, biology. A little excursion into spiritual realm and mythology may be made if necessary for the exposition of my ideas.
The main train of ideas comes from researchers like Jim Miller (Living Systems Theory), John Bennett (systematics), and Arthur Young (Theory of Process) or is related to these inputs. My background is physics, psychology and I have a good knowledge of diverse esoteric teachings.

 I am developing a true holonic model (first of its kind, I believe) of the manifest cosmos, especially as seen on our planet Earth. It entails a reinterpretation of Arthur Young's Theory of Process (TOP). As I do this in my free time, progress may be slow. Yet, it already looks very promising. You can have a look at the priliminary model:

There's a lot to be elucidated about the model, like the overlay/interfacing/interweaving of micro-development within the macrosystem, and a whole host of other things, not in the least the emergence of loops (reflexivity),  but I have to do some research on more examples first to make it a little clearer for you and myself.

If you have constructive comments to make, please do so.

 


Posted by m_euser at 11:06 PM MEST
Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007 11:14 PM MEST
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Model continued; similarity with Arthur Young model

The beauty of the model I sketched is breathtaking. It begins to look very much like Arthur Young's model, but I have to do more research on that. The devil is always in the details..

Basically, my model shows how an entity (a "seed") gains its independance thru the mediation of subsystems of a macro-entity. The seed that becomes a plant..the plant that generates the new seed. The cycle of life!

 As an addition to what I said in my previous postings I have to say that Arthur Young's idea of ionic and covalent bonds begin to make sense now to me. On level two there is attraction and repulsion, as shown in my example of the zygote. It is attracted towards the center of egg-production. Besides that there is the attraction of the parents-to-be on the reincarnating soul.  Even more impressive is stage 3, where we see the covalent bond, the placenta, the sharing between mother and child-to-be, necessary to feed the embryo and fetus.

Note the relation Pattern-Form, like genetic pattern and resulting form, through the mediation of the generative subsystem.

Also note the left side of arc as a development of form and basic function, until separation of "object" (fetus/baby) and "Self"/subject (mother) takes place. The right side of the arc shows cognitive/emotional development (a lot of research still needed). 

 PS: this blog is continued in a new format at:

http://integrativesciencephilosophy.blogspot.com/ 

 

 

 


Posted by m_euser at 10:34 AM MEST
Updated: Saturday, 25 August 2007 10:52 PM MEST
Monday, 13 August 2007
model continued (6); subsystems, dimensions

In addition to the previous posting: we see on level one (macrolevel) freedom of the system to procreate or not.  On the levels two to four we see subsystems at work, bringing a subsubsystem (a fertilized cell) to the stage of organism. Quite a thing that is happening there!

We can use the work of Jim Miller to correlate subsystems with these levels or (possible combinations of)  "stages" on diverse levels.  The streams of energy and information have been mapped by him as processed by subsystems (ingestor, converter, producer, extruder, decider; input, decoder, network (transmission, transport), encoder, etc., to name a few). 

It struck me that level two shows selection at work. In the previous posting there is a selection  of which of the sperms reaches the ovum and which one(s) penetrate the outer layer of it.  Another example concerns images: we get bombarded by images and some attract sustained attention. Do we pay enough attention to the images from within? At any rate, we evaluate images (unconsciously or consciously) and choose which ones we will develop further (give form, flesh and body).  The decider subsystem of Miller is at work here! See how important these considerations are for our well-being? These systems play a role in the creation spiral (Assagioli, Knoope, and others, to be dealt with): from wish to realization.

 Another thing to have a look at is the possible identification of eternal patterns with level one (which are reflected on level 3 as forms) and hyparxis with level two. Level three shows both of the above factors as there is a combination of forces/principles taking place here. All very tentative, but again with tremendous theoretical and practical importance. Level four as a combining operator must be researched as well.

Lastly, John Bennett  has developed some mathematical notions (four types of pencil, alpha, beta, gamma, delta in his work "Dramatic Universe, volume 1). He has extra "time"- dimensions added to the known four dimensions in physics. It is clear to me that patterns ("pattern-space")  qualifies as in some sense orthogonal to the four dimensions. It is like the ideal that can be realized: it even can have an ontological status as the image that is (on its own level) but not yet has become (in space-time). The hyparchic factor can qualify as a connector of some kind: it looks to me that it connects micro with meso, and macro with mesolevel. Very important, how else can levels communicate signals with each other? Whether it can be seen as a rotating factor that brings certain patterns to bear on physical reality remains to be seen. Such operations in an extended framework of dimensions may prove very insightful. They may, for example, finally solve the riddle of the instant correlation of photons (Alain Aspect experiment!).  The idea is that photons remain connected (but in another dimension! - perhaps their vibrational patterns remain coupled in pattern space (level one, wholeness) - which may be expressed through hyparxis via a lock in phase-relation). Scientists are always looking for invariances, so, here we may find something like invariance of phase-relation or something similar. But, I'm looking ahead a bit.

 

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Posted by m_euser at 3:35 AM MEST
Updated: Monday, 13 August 2007 4:34 PM MEST
Saturday, 11 August 2007
model continued (5)

 An important step forward in developing the model is to have a brief look at the generative process. All through antiquity there have been philosophical speculations about the origin of our world and kosmos. See for example:

 http://www.esotericarchives.com/proclus/metaelem.htm

 

Being, Life and Intellect are principles that occur or are operative at each level or sphere of kosmos. We will have to remember that later on.

For now, I envisage to take level one in my model (the macrolevel) as where the "seed" is latent: the germ-plasm  is present in the parents-to-be. These parents are clearly macro relative to the seed they carry.There is a potential, latent, human being on level one, the person to be born.  However, it is not until the couple actively engages in the procreative act (driven by attraction, level two and three motivating forces, probably modulated by level one cultural/social influences and considerations)  that the  ovum is fertilized or "created". That activity is level two function, a social level, where an exchange of substances take place and messages are communicated.

The fertilized egg or zygote travels to its destiny, in the womb,develops into a blastula (with two poles: embryoblast, an inner cell-layer, and trophoblast (the outer cell-layer)) and has to bind to the intra-uterine wall, a critical stage where rejection, repulsion, can occur, leading to spontaneous abortion. Today, more is known about the mechanism of binding, the development of the trophoblast, the hormones involved, etc., so, we may refine our understanding of this whole process considerably. 

The question here is: "to bind or not to bind"! Talking about evaluation...

In level three and four we see the womb acting as a matrix for the embryo to develop its form and function.

These three stages are remarkably akin to the following, quoted from  

 http://jdt.unl.edu/emanate.htm :

" First, an initial identity of the product with its source, a sort of potential existence; second, an indefinite procession or unfolding of the product from its source, and third, a contemplative visionary reversion of the product upon its source, in which the product becomes aware of its separate existence and thereby takes on its own distinctive form and definition"

The third step looks very much like the instinctive awareness of the fetus, but certainly the birth-process is an often painful event where awareness of separation will be present (although not in a self-conscious form).

Level four in the Arthur Young model shows object-Self relationship and I like to take that level as the fetal stage where awareness of separate existence exists (fetus as "object") and  labor takes place ( birth, the presentation of "the product or object" to the outside world). We will have to look at the substages of level four, e.g. to substages six and seven (mobility and goal completion, birth proper?). 

BTW, level two is Self-object relation and here it is that the creation process occurs. Macro and meso create an object (fertilized ovum).

When the baby grows up to an adolescent it becomes capable of reproduction itself. By then it has developed  higher level (1 and 2)  functions.

Higher stages 5, 6, 7 can be seen as involving instinct/emotion, emotion/cognition and abstract thought/understanding, though we must be careful not to take this as a separation of these principles operating (subdivisions of kama, BTW, mixtures occur with prana, manas, etc.). Developmental literature shows that principles overlap or interpenetrate, sometimes portrayed as partly overlapping Gauss-curves (partly interpenetrating spectra of consciousness may be better!) . I do wonder about the operation of principles in the four elements/levels. It can get very complicated as we may see later in an example/analysis of the creation spiral. Nature mixes and combines! BTW, the left arc (stage 1, 2, 3, and 4) show formation while the right arc (stage 4, higher substages; stage 5, 6, 7) show instinct and development of cognitive-emotional functions (stage 6 and 7 especially for the latter functions).


This all pertains to the appropriate sublevels of the human fractal. We have to discriminate it all more in detail later and pay attention to phase transitions.

 

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Posted by m_euser at 5:47 PM MEST
Updated: Monday, 13 August 2007 6:20 PM MEST
Monday, 6 August 2007
model continued (4)

Some additional remarks: 

1. The first level as macro-level has specific characteristics of being a gateway to  other macro-levels. To give an example: archetypes occur as symbols in thought and speech. Language forms a gateway from the individual to the collective, across space and time. Long after someone is dead, his or her words may continue to have an influence on people through written word, audio or videorecordings, etc. 

2.  The process of communication may yield fresh insights as to the usebility of the model. Four aspects of communication must be researched. 

3.  Human brain  has, relative to the body,  a global function. The neocortex is heavily involved in language and symbolic processing. Also, the brain influences organs locally by secreting hormones and neurotransmitters. These can be seen as messengers. 

4.  The second level shows evaluative function. The regulation of emotion through  norm and meta-emotion is subject of research.  Complicated networks of meaning arise through experience, education, etc.
There seems to be some inherent fuzziness associated with this  level (and sublevel two of levels in general). From elementary particles to ever shifting shades of meaning, all very fuzzy. 

5. On the cell level one can see the famous "key-lock" "mechanism"  operating in binding of substances to receptors. One can see this as an evaluative mechanism: a protein fits in the lock or it doesn't. If it does a whole sequence of steps follows (a program).

6. All the above bears testimony to the meta-model  I have sketched thus far. It must all be carefully reseached, of course.  Many more examples must be charted from literature and experience and some general observations and philosophical considerations must be made before we can conclude that the meta-model holds true in general. This model might subdivide in more detailed models subsequently, depending on the field of study.

 

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Posted by m_euser at 10:17 PM MEST
Updated: Monday, 6 August 2007 10:28 PM MEST
Monday, 30 July 2007
model continued (3)

A few additional points are to be made in relation to the model I sketched in my previous posting.

1. A trigger can also be bottom up in the four level model, as when 'body' sends a signal to brain/mind that it is getting fatigued or  getting hungry.

2. A trigger can also be "horizontal" as coming from the environment (influence from other people(verbal, emotional, etc.), physical objects (bumping into something), etc.  Heterarchical connections refer to connections on the same level ("horizontal" ), while hierarchical relations refer to "vertical" connections. The latter can be inner relations (as mind to soul) or external (e.g, your boss or some authority figure).

3. The messenger is an intermediary between the trigger signal and the processing part. It may execute  an evaluating function.

4. This three-tiered approach can be related to ideas of John Bennett and Charles Sanders Peirce. Initiation, reception/processing  and mediation are very general concepts and widely applicable, I believe.

5. Very important is the idea of degrees of freedom (autonomous function vs causally determined  function).  While the original trigger in a process may be unpredictable (undetermined), the subsequent steps point to a loss of degrees of freedom. The intermediate step, the messenger, has a dynamic function, and thirdly, the program that is executed is by its own nature very much restricted. Analysis of this idea is very important, I think, because it does shed more light on the controversy of freedom vs determinacy, not the least of philosophical-scientific issues!

In accordance with the above,  I am doing some inventory of process.

As an example, think of contraction of a muscle fiber, comprising a.o. excitation-contraction coupling:  neuronal signal causes release of a neurotransmitter which by binding action generates an action potential that is propagated along sarcolemma and causes a whole program to be executed, leading to contraction of a muscle, work being done and relaxation.  No need to go into details here as I am simply doing a quick inventory. It is very easy to get sucked into details and lose sight of the big picture. Point is that there is (1) a trigger (neuronal signal), (2) a messenger (neurotransmitter), and (3) a program that is executed, leading to (4) work done, energy spent.

 Another example is that of the perceptive process: a signal from  outside of the organism is perceived by some sense (can also be a receptor in a single cell) and through an effector triggers the execution of a program. This can be an elaborate program consisting of many complex steps. This is something that happens on many levels: cell, organ, organism, etc.

 On the psychological level one can also think in terms of: perception, belief system, act.  Interpretation is obviously involved in this. The role of belief system as a filter is a vital one to consider. An event, the subsequent evaluation which brings forth an emotion, which has a regulatory role/function (and may trigger action) and the subsequent act (behavioural program) also points to a three tiered approach, I believe.
(This latter example may turn out to be very complex)

However the case, we can always zoom in or out of the fractal  human being to see more detail or focus on a larger picture.

BTW, the "program" or production of some form or change of form with subsequent work done involves two levels of the model, making four levels total.

I am sure  that many more examples can be found and will continue to dig a little further.  Remember: always keep an eye on the big picture!

 

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Posted by m_euser at 1:15 PM MEST
Updated: Monday, 30 July 2007 11:16 PM MEST
Friday, 27 July 2007
model continued (2)

While reviewing what I said about soul and spirit, I got the distinct idea that we have a simple model of process here, formulated in rather physico-chemical terms:

 1. There is a field, a potential difference

 2. A messenger is active (after a trigger or impulse/signal from within or above, the field). It binds directly or causes to bind something to a structure and

 3.  that act of binding causes a change in form of that structure, or causes  a signal/particle  to be transmitted to or into that structure

4.  thereby enabling some (local) action to take place. It could also trigger the execution of a program (such as to synthesize certain proteins, for example).

Iterations of steps may occur as we go from level to level, combining factors at work. The precise attribution to levels is something to be studied late, because we need to establish some criteria first as to which are the characteristics of these levels and whether there is overlap/interpenetration/integration of components in structures performing  functions involved in the process.

 This looks simple enough to investigate in several realms of life. One possibility is to study processes in a cell, or processes in the human body. Another possibility is to study psychological processes (behavioural, cognitive, etc.), after rephrasing the above sequence a little bit.  We will probably encounter exciting examples from which we can learn a lot, and there may be some lacunae in present knowledge that requires us to interpret or speculate a little. Maybe new hypotheses can be formulated as well. It all takes time, patience and perseverance as this whole endeavour is a rather new one, I believe. 

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Posted by m_euser at 10:42 PM MEST
Updated: Saturday, 28 July 2007 12:17 AM MEST
The model continued

In the model there is a place for substance, being several forms of light, pattern (information), will, understanding, value, cognition/perception, act and action and a whole lot more. Consciousness is something we must study at some point; creation and formation likewise deserve our scrutiny.

 Now, while level One represents an already differentiated macrolevel of being, a field of archetypal forms, many potentialities in respect to the next levels, level Two represents the level of creation (origination) of microbeings. These microbeings are beings that have not developed a permanent link with the inner levels (I mean the origin of the macrolevels, which can be called logoic). Think of particles that are created out of light, but also other entities like thoughts. These are of a substantial nature too. There seems to be a split into polar forces, "positive and negative charges", whereby a gradient comes into existence. This is something to research indepth, as it has a deep bearing on later developments and succeeding levels of manifestation. You may recognize  the beginning of something of a valuation process here. 

What I just described pertains especially to the left side of the developmental arc, the right side is the self-conscious side. The two sides work together as there must be a trigger to "create" something, an impulse from somewhere or some consciousness to valuate something. The particle creation I mentioned is just an example, but for physical particles it pertains more to level Four, the first sublevels. 

 The Third level represents action of the elements of level two. Formation of more complex forms takes place here. Many forces are at work here. At some point we must have a look at the six tattwas and their interrelations (36 pairs) to see whether the ideas about these tattwas can help us understand functions of life a little better.

 The Fourth level  is the most combinatorial level of all. Here all influences come together and find their end-point so to speak.

All the above ideas are derived from known sources, see my ebook, and they necessitate a deeper research in order to understand them better. 

As yet I did not mention the left and right arc of development (involution vs evolution), but that notion should be included too in our researches. Left arc is more about formation of things, right side more about cognition and understanding. See my e-book for diagrams of the arc.

 

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Posted by m_euser at 1:50 PM MEST
Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007 9:55 PM MEST
Monday, 23 July 2007
Spirit

Spirit is the first factor in the fourfold model of the human being.

It embodies Truth, Beauty and Wisdom, in short "eternal values" or better: the deepest value-patterns possible on this earth. If one aligns oneself with Spirit then one follows the Dharma, one's inner law of being, one's inner pattern. Not an easy thing to do, in current distracting and chaotic times.

Soul can be said to be the interface between the Spirit and mind. I wrote about that a little in my previous postings. Will flows from Spirit to Soul down into manifestation and back.

The question of immanence of Spirit is a very deep one. It is sometimes stated that atma-buddhi, or spirit, penetrates all things. In most cases it is in an involutionary state, wrapped up in matter, and it is said that humans have evolved only a little bit of spirit, especially in the area of vital, organizational, forces in the human constitution. Little is known about these forces in our current world, but the Hindus mention five kinds of pranas, some dealing with metabolism (digestive process, breathing, etc.) and one with spiritual metabolism. (but there are more pranas). Indeed, while pondering about the organization of 'body' (see my article on Vitvan for the reason of the use of single quotes!), I can't escape from the impression that an awful lot of intelligence is expressing itself on the physiological level. Compared with our often capricious emotional-mental states, the 'body' is very much organized and evolved.

There are, of course, many mysteries involved with Spirit. Spirit ("inner God")  can be seen as representing a macroscopic  level of being, mind a more microscopic level and soul something in between, all relatively speaking. I can't elaborate here, but in esoteric literature we find clues that Spirit is the gateway to the inner worlds of the solar system, if I may put it that way. Spirit stems from the Spiritual sun, on the inner levels of our solar system. So, when it enters our world (earth-spheres) it projects as it were a soul (a "vehicle" for each sphere it passes through). Study De Purucker if your interest is raised.

It would be a good thing if we would understand more of the "heart-beat" of spirit and soul in manifestation. In order to be able to do that we must, at some point, research phenomena like expansion and contraction and their regulation. See the triad here?

 

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Posted by m_euser at 12:00 AM MEST
Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007 12:03 PM MEST
Friday, 20 July 2007
Goal, objective, purpose

To give an idea of how I approach academic disciplines, I'll sketch some of the thoughts  and questions that enter my mind when I study a piece of text.

For example, Russell Ackoff and Fred Emery have written some stuff on goal, objective, and  purpose in their book "On Purposeful Systems". I'll quote a small piece of text from this work. On page 240 we read under the heading of "The Nature of Ideals and Their Pursuit": "It will be recalled that the goal of a system in a particular situation was defined as a preferred outcome that can be obtained within a specified period of time. Further, an objective of a system was defined as a preferred outcome that cannot be obtained within a specified time period but can be obtained over a longer time period. A purposeful system is of a qualitatively higher order than is a goal-seeking system: it can pursue objectives."

The text goes on for quite a while, but this was the first passage I looked up in the book, as i was drawn immediately to chapter 14 on Ideal-Seeking Systems. Associations with Arthur Young's work immediately arose in my mind. Associations with the fractal human being by Onno Damste entered my mind as fractals can be seen as layers upon layers of development. Associations with and questions pertaining to the different kingdoms of nature entered my mind: do plants have goals?, do animals have objectives?, what about degrees of freedom regarding purpose and goals? What about the role of choice in these matters? What about the principles of mind involved in setting a goal, defining your objectives and purpose? How do Bennett's energies fit into this?

What about the interfaces or gradations between plants, animals and humans? How about the role of different brainstructures in this matter? The list goes on but this is to illustrate how a short piece of text can give rise to hundreds of questions (and ultimately hypotheses) about the human,animal and plant nature. This all pertains to the world of the true scientist.

Philosophy and belief-systems  cannot be seperated from this enterprise as there is no such thing as a theory-free fact. About all perception is loaded with conceptual matters (filters through which you perceive). Scientists like to avoid these matters (bury their heads in the sand), but that is no solution! From "atom" to "time" or "space", all the way to identity, and even feelings; all involve concepts we have or ideas or beliefs about the world, the other, ourselves.  I distinctly remember fellow psychologists avoiding subjects such as these (like the qualia problem) like the plague, trying to adopt a reductionist approach like physicists do, but this gets them nowhere in my humble opinion. The social sciences are fragmented into hundreds of little theories as a result. There is no one overarching theory in psychology.

The approach I just sketched leads to more integration of fields of knowledge since it deals with the whole picture at first and identifies hundreds of important points for research in relation to each other and the whole! It can also help organize knowledge, like Arthur Young's paradigm can and John Bennett's ideas can help to bring some order into a multitude of little systems/paradigms.

 

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Posted by m_euser at 3:36 PM MEST
Updated: Sunday, 22 July 2007 11:25 PM MEST

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