Posts Tagged ‘Environment’

About Epigenics

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Many people think that Charles Darwin proposed the theory of evolution but they are wrong. The predecessor of Darwin was Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829).

In all the textbooks the evolution theory of Lamarck is highly discredited. He was totally wrong and Darwin was absolutely right. Lamarck was a fool. In his days he was blocked by the Ruling Power in Science because he attacked the major paradigm in society, “Only The Best Survive“.

Like Darwin, Lamarck concluded that species change over time by adapting to new environments. Like Darwin, Lamarck concluded that parents pass their traits on to their offspring.

He also founded the principle of use and disuse: If an organ is used, it will become stronger, and if it is not used, it will weaken and may disappear in future generations.

The big difference between the theory of Darwin and Lamarck is the flexibility of the process of evolution. Lamarck believed that evolution reacts to its environment in a much higher speed than Darwin could ever imagine.

People believe the theory of natural selection of Darwin because it fits with the general believe that “Life is a Competition“. This rule was and is the driving force behind educational theories (testing) and economic theories.

It supports the idea of the higher classes and the lower classes and it fuels racial theories (“Don’t Mix a Black and a White“). It also fits with the computer metaphor where the DNA is a database and Life is a Program that reads the Database.

Lamarck’s theory is now proved by a new field of research: Epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of gene expression independent of DNA mutations. It contradicts the rules of Mendelian inheritance.

The DNA contains many genes that are not used. Until recently they were seen as a sort of waste. They were dumped by the selection process. Recent research shows that these genes are used when the environment changes. The reaction to the environment is much faster than anybody imagined.

In the theories that are educated the controlling mechanism of life is DNA. It contains the code and the code is “clean” and “effective”.

Every time when a new cell has to be created the same procedure is repeated all over again and again. This has proved to be wrong.

The controller of life is not a database and a standard program but a highly differentiated database used by an “intelligent” processor. This processor reacts to the internal and external environment of the organism. It sends out messengers and reacts to messengers.

The most influential messengers are related to the “human imagination”. Our “theories about the inside and outside world”, our belief systems, determine an important part of the adaptive cycle.

The now widely accepted Lamarckian view on evolution in Molecular Biology has a huge impact on science.

The current theories about diseases and aging have to be adapted. In this theory Genes determine diseases, aging and are a very important tool to diagnose and therapy. When genes are adaptive we have to support the process of adaptation instead of interfering in this process.

You can imagine that epigenics disturbs the whole medical profession and of course the pharmaceutical industry. They will use the same tactics that were used to stop the ideas of Lamarck.

About “Just-in-Time”-Learning or Why we are still Waiting for Educational Simulators

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Learning is an autonomous process. Human beings (and other organisms) respond to a change in their internal or external environment. We are not able to adapt to every change but small and gradual changes are implemented without noticing.

When you play the piano and pay attention to the notes your fingers are playing, your fingers will remember the notes they are playing. After some time you are able to find the notes by “letting your fingers go their way“.

Education is forced learning. We want somebody to acquire knowledge or a practice in the timeframe we have defined. Some people are able to do this with ease others fail.

In the old days children were educated in the context they lived in. Most of the time they copied the activities of their parents. The girls became a mother and the boys took over the practice of their father. Some of them failed and went their own way.

At this moment children are unable to learn in the context they live in. School is a completely artificial context where people are forced to learn what the “policy-makers” have defined.

Children learn without any force outside the school-environment and in certain situations this environment is an environment the “policy-makers” don’t like. Children learn to survive in a ghetto and are trained to become a thief or a seller of drugs.

What we see is a conflict between “real life” and “constructed or abstract life“. In about a hundred years we have created a highly abstract environment and this environment needs workers to sustain itself.

The abstract environment changes with an increasing speed. When somebody is trained to repair a car the car is changed into a highly computerized system and repairing is only possible when the computer tells the mechanic what to.

Adding numbers and multiplying numbers was educated at school. The calculating machine changed the game. The only thing you have to learn is to use the calculator.

The educational system is far behind the abstract world we are creating. It is forcing young people to learn things but they are unable to motivate why. The industry needs people to operate the machines but when they have trained their employees the world has changed.

The outside (abstract or imaginary world) is distancing itself from the internal world of human being and the real world they live in. The communication industry creates its own imaginary world that is shown in movies and games.

Why do young people have to spend so much time in a constructed environment that is totally disconnect from every part of the outside world it was aimed at?

The solution to this problem was invented a very long time ago and it is was called Life-Long-Learning. If we start to learn something we really need we learn without any problem.

Why is life-long-learning or “just-in-time”-learning not implemented?

Why are policy-makers writing big documents about this issue but are not implementing their vision?

The main reason is that they want to implement this concept in the “old fashioned educational system” using the old fashioned tools and the old fashioned employees.

The world has changed everywhere but the Educational System is still in the state of 50 years ago. This is really a very strange situation.

The first problem we have to solve is when “just-in-time“-learning has to start in life. Let us pick an age. Say 13 or 14. It is the time when many children start to have a job.

In the vision of “just-in-time-learning” this is the moment to give them the opportunity to make mistakes and ask questions that are “to-the-point”.

When children change (= learn) and are “adapted” we could change their environment and add complexity. In the end some of them could become even brilliant scientists. There are many examples in history of “self-made” scientists (Faraday).

I can imagine that you have a lot of arguments to show that this is a totally unpractical solution.

We could do something else. We could simulate “real-life’ and change the educational environment into a game.

Again I ask you why this has not been done until today. Well the first answer is that it has been done and there are already very effective educational games on the market. Some of them are even for free.

The second answer is that they are blocked by the educational publishers that make a lot of money by selling books and of course they are blocked by the teachers who don’t know what to do when children are learning without them.

Why all Organisms are Moving Memories

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Rodney Cotterill explains a lot about the structure of very simple bacteria. What he shows is that even bacteria have Emotions.

To agree with this we have to agree on a definition of the Emotions. Agreeing about “What an Emotion is” is one of the most complex discussions in Psychology. The discussion is so complex that there is really no discussion possible.

The simplest way to solve this discussion is to start with the meaning of the word Emotion. Emotion simply means “Movement“.

So an Emotion could be described as “Something that moves us” or “Something that shows to other People that we are Moved“.

We are moved by an Event, Something that Happens. Something that “Makes a Difference“.

An Event is a Change in our Environment or Context. This Context could be our Internal Environment (our Body, Pain) or our External Environment.

When you are a bacterium you are moving in an environment that contains Food. You need Food to produce Energy. The environment is not homogeneous. The concentration of food is different in the Space the bacterium is exploring. It even contains deadly food, Poison.

A bacterium like Escherichia coli  procures information by probing its surroundings, through the propulsion provided by its flagellum. In effect, this creature integrates incoming chemical signals during a few-second period of its travels, and adjusts its direction of advance accordingly. The integration is achieved through temporary chemical modifications to molecules located in the bounding membrane, which transfer nutrients to the cytoplasm, and also through changes to certain other molecules in the interior of the cell. Such integration is essentially a short-term memory mechanism”.

The bacterium is probing his environment. When he finds “food” he acquires “energy” and his mover, the flagellum, reacts. The process of intake and movement is a cycle.

The Cycle takes time (a few seconds, a delay, a Rhythm) and acts as “a short term memory“.  Memory is not stored in the body of the bacterium. The Memory of the bacterium is his Cycle.

When the bacterium finds Food he circles around. He is attracted to the Center. When he finds Poison, he moves away. When he moves away his flagellum rotates anticlockwise.  When he is attracted his flagellum moves with the clock. The bacterium shows spiraling behaviour.

The Bacterium LOVES Food and he HATES Poison. In between he is EXITED (Chaotic). He starts to Probe, to Explore, his Environment to find Food (Love) again.

The Emotional State of the Bacterium is a 100% correlated to the State of the Bacterium itself.

The Bacterium Is His Emotions.

When the Bacterium could be AWARE of all his INTERNAL states he would need many words to explain his emotions to us.

When we could show the bacteria that his states are “just” related to a few EXTERNAL states that are related to “the amount of Food in his environment” he could reduce THE AMOUNT OF WORDS to DESCRIBE his emotions to a few.

Cotterill shows that in time many new features (mostly Sensors) are added to the Organisms that followed the Bacterium in the process of Evolution but the basic structure of the bacterium stays in place.

I cite:

The ultimate evolutionary product was the brain itself, though there is not universal agreement as to why this structure actually developed. One obvious view is that it served to gather the sensory organs and their interneurons into a single unit, an alternative idea being that its precursor emerged at a primitive stage, as a device for coordinating the two sides of the body“.

The peripheral reflexes can act independently of the brain, but they can also be coordinated and sequenced by it. The main point to be grasped here is that the brain’s primary purpose lies in the need for inhibiting peripheral reflexes, when particularly sophisticated sequences of muscular movements have to be executed“.

The Brain is not Thinking. It is inhibiting Thinking.

We think independent of the Brain.

The Brain is INHIBITING our thinking when we want to override the Action Patterns that are stored in our Bodily Cycle.

We want to override our Experience when something happens and the Event is not related to our Goals.

Goals are related to Expectations and Expectations are something we, Mammals, are able to “calculate“.

We, the Mammals,  are able to create an Image of the Future. By the process of Abstraction we are able to generate “schema” or “actions patterns” that are imaginary.

When our Goals are violated we are just like the primivitive organisms able to permit the current movement, switch to  another, or stop altogether.

Just like them we have a choice but our choices are not only applicable to the real world.  We are able to switch between the real world and other worlds. The underlying system is comparable it just works on another level.

We, the organisms, are Moving Memories that ARE our Emotions. We are all looking for Love (Energy) and when we are without Love we start to Probe to find it again.


Why an Event is not a Collision

About Deleuze and Events

About Deleuze and Ecology