Category: Biology and physicalism

What intelligence looks like

Have you ever wondered what intelligence looks like? I know I haven’t. The very question launches from a category mistake. Intelligence is a kind of experience. We can list abilities, but the act of intellection is not itself list-like. Intelligence is an intrinsic property that makes external relations for itself, b...

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The vulnerable processual self

The metaphors we use in our self-conception seep into every aspect of our lives. We associate resistance with mass and solidity. When you stare at a project and your chest and abdomen crawl with pains, you should ask,

What is this suffering and resistant meat? There is a power inside...
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Man, the great protoplasm bag, originated as a recoiler

There is no basic agentive biological unit. But the cell is the official unit of biology, and the obvious unit for anyone who looks. The distinction is this: at what level does division thwart automatic self-reproduction? The smallest level is the most “basic.” We can divide organisms and organs, but not...

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DNA: agent or bridge?

Who is really in charge—DNA or the cell? The “library” of chromosomes, or the vast coordinated ecosystem inside the cell? Well, if DNA is really just a set of instructions, then how can we call it the agent and end of all the various episodes of biological struggle?

Or is it ju...

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Agentive awareness derives from pain

The pain of fear (or fear-pain) is the prime mover of all executive action. Fear-pain is a biological construct that motivates the organism to avoid physical pain or death.

Fear-pain emerged when the very first properly modular and coordinated negentropic system emerged, one that could propel the organism into rapid...

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Organismic unity and rationalist metaphysics

It is common to say that the organism “is in some sense a unity.” This unity from the external third-person view is the total mass and intelligence of the organism. All internal motion counts. All of it plays a part in the culminating action potentials that determine the thing’s “voluntary” action.


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I forgot: I’m in the house on the river

I was defeated with tiredness, my mind was a cloud of unclarity, my will was nought—I could perceive but not exert. I was done for.

So I slouched forward, almost in Rabbit Pose, at the huge low glass table that has become my writing table since Cuntjin left.

I saw m...

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The explosion of a lifetime

A lifetime, the gradual unfolding of bodily development, is actually a slow, lifelong explosion. After our reproductive prime, the body begins to fall apart. Then, when we die, this falling apart accelerates rapidly. With the advantage of time-elapse photography, we would see the body visibly exploding, its putrid froth seeping...

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Can neurons break the rules?

What makes us think that brain cells are any less automatic than ligands signaling platelets to migrate towards a wound? Do you intend your ligands towards an unknown cut? And do you then intend them to secrete signal chemicals needed to attract a convention of platelets? Are you really the...

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Your house is on fire

Your house is on fire with the concern produced by meiosis. Meiosis is the spring of all our world-making concern, no matter how sublimated (or even inverted) this motivation may be.

The compulsive, perpetual making of half-selves is the very occult doing that drives the person and the personality. Meiosis...

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Self-deconstruction by way of materialism

The so-called subject (The Voice that says “I think …”) is a chemical process. It’s not just that The Voice is chemicals. It’s worse than that. The Voice—aka you—is a chemical process.

That’s right—“you” don’t even exist as a substance-type thing. You are an epiphenomenon effected by a way of movement. The substrate...

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Self as artifact of grammar

In your gross form, the so-called YOU is a collection of gelatinous blobs hanging onto rock-like sticks made of calcium phosphate.

What about the ghost-like self that seems to be running the blob-covered sticks? The self is an artifact of The Voice—the commentator who prepends “I think …” to its announc...

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A new Way of Unity

… that the YOU right here sitting now is the same YOU that undertakes gastrulation.

But why stop there?

Rudolf Otto was the Joesph Campbell of mystical experience and succeeded in reducing all particular mystical (here defined as subject–object fusional or self–universe combining) experience to two purely formal types—the Inward Way and the ...

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People are basically walking sponges

So I was about to Google what is probably the smartest thing I’ve ever said, which is that people are basically walking sponges.

Smart because true and startling. (If a sentence is true but surprisingly so, then it’s smart or stand-up worthy.) Sponges are the key moment in our evolution bec...

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Like this drop of water here, particles are still tethered, by their substance, to their source.

Polyps, not particles

That particles (particulate matter, spherical blobs, or wobbly spiky blobs, or quivering string loops) decay is … astonishing. That particles exist is astonishing. What supports their short-lived presence? To handle this notion in our 3-D imagination, we use the upward surge of a droplet of liquid from the surface of a...

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Matter is sentience

CSH: Content was making the Searle point that consciousness simpliciter is not a formal-abstract information processing network, something that can be replicated by a Turing machine. Consciousness is not the effect of value-mapping. It’s not address content changing with an algorithm. That thing isn’t the consciousness. What it is, is the...

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Survival and survival-irrelevant interests

Physics has made survival-interested cell giants. Our survival interest is something basic. We are cellular automata, and our current configuration is a logical consequence of the tautological fact that any pattern will exist only if it exists. We don’t know if existence is good or bad, but we do know t...

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