The scientific process plays out in a multi-scale system comprising subsystems, each with their own properties and dynamics. For the practice of science to generate useful world models — and lead to the development of enabling technologies — practicing scientists, their theories, methods, dissemination, and infrastructure (e.g., funding and laboratories) must all fit together in an orchestrated manner. Scientific practice has broad societal implications that go beyond mere scientific progress: we base our decisions on theoretical (i.e., models and forecasts) and technological (e.g., vaccines and smartphones) scientific advances. This paper applies the free energy principle to provide a multi-scale description of science understood as evidence-seeking processes in a nested hierarchy of living (biological and behavioural) and epistemic (linguistic) structures. This allows us to naturalise the scientific process — as distributed self-evidencing — in terms of dynamics that can be read as inference or Bayesian belief updating; i.e., processes that maximize the evidence for a generative model of the sensed and measured world. The ensuing meta-theoretical approach dispels the notion of science as truth-pointing and foregrounds inference to the best explanation — as evinced by the beliefs of scientists and their encultured niche. Crucially, it furnishes a way of simulating the practice of science, which may have a foundational role in the next generation of augmented intelligence systems. Epistemologically, it also addresses some key questions; e.g., is science a special? And in what ways is scientific pursuit an existential imperative for all beings? These questions may be foundational in how we use and design intelligent systems.
Sally J. Goerner is the Director of the Research Alliance for Regenerative Economics (RARE), former Science Advisor to the Capital Institute, and Managing Director of the North Carolina Sustainable Community Fund. With advanced degrees in engineering, systems science, and psychology, Dr. Goerner has lectured worldwide on how the Energy Network Sciences (ENS) create a common-sense narrative on how to achieve socioeconomic vitality by revitalising human networks. Dr. Goerner has authored over 50 articles and 5 books, including ‘After the Clockwork Universe: The Emerging Science and Culture of integral Society’ (1999) and ‘Sustainability as the Cutting Edge of Great Change’ (2007). Over her prolific career, Sally has been on a mission to contribute to a rigorous and unifying framework providing practitioners in different fields the systemic vision required to co-create the reforms we need for a healthy future.
What causes such a society to undergo a comprehensive change of life? The answer is that oligarchy is a cultural system that creates systemic problems by coloring all things. It’s not just economic – it’s political, environmental, agricultural, education. When multiple, interlocking, systemic problems happen at the same time, it creates huge pressure inside the society. In the beginning, nobody knows what to do – they are just casting about focusing on individual problems. Then, some of these people become reformers – heretics from the old system. They will figure out better ways in their area of concern: religion, science, education. Great change happens when the pressures get so large that there is a kind of tipping point. You can see this happening right now. Regular people are so fed up with the old way, that they’re willing to go with something new. That’s the point we’re at right now. You can’t predict whether we’re going to pick up effective reforms or not—after all, demagogues are rising and America elected Trump! Martin Luther had a great line: ‘the mad mob cares not that it be better, only that it be different. And, hence they get bees for flies and then hornets for bees’. My mission in life is to try to build well-informed self-organisation, because if the framework gets in place so that people that are in all different fields can see how their reforms fit together, then we can use its clarity and power to move this society in the right direction.
My purpose in this essay is to explain cognition as a biological phenomenon, and to show, in the process, how language arises and gives origin to self consciousness, revealing the ontological foundations of the physical domain of existence as a limiting cognitive domain. In order to do this I shall start from two unavoidable experiential conditions that are at the same time my problems and my explanatory instruments, namely: a) that cognition, as is apparent in the fact that any alteration of the biology of our nervous system alters our cognitive capacities, is a biological phenomenon that must be explained as such; and b) that we, as is apparent in this very same essay, exist as human beings in language using language for our explanations. These two experiential conditions are my starting point because I must be in them in any explanatory attempt; they are my problems because I choose to explain them; and they are my unavoidable instruments because I must use cognition and language in order to explain cognition and language.
In other words, I propose not to take cognition and language as given unexplainable properties, but to take them as phenomena of our human domain of experiences that arise in the praxis of our living, and that as such deserve explanation as biological phenomena. At the same time, it is my purpose to use our condition of existing in language to show how the physical domain of existence arises in language as a cognitive domain. That is, I intend to show that the observer and observing, as biological phenomena, are ontologically primary with respect to the object and the physical domain of existence.
Dr. Zach Bush is an internationally recognized educator and thought leader on the microbiome as it relates to health, disease, and food systems. He founded Seraphic Group and the nonprofit Farmer’s Footprint to develop root-cause solutions for human and ecological health. He sees that there is a dramatic need for a radical departure from chemical farming and pharmacy, and his ongoing efforts are providing a path for consumers, farmers, and mega-industries to work together for a healthy future for people and the planet.
So, really, there’s never been a better time to sit down with Dr. Bush — because our society and planet clearly need some help right now.
As you remember, Zach Bush MD is a physician specializing in internal medicine, endocrinology, and hospice care. He’s also an internationally recognized educator and thought leader on the microbiome as it relates to health, disease, and food systems. Our last conversation, which felt like an energy vortex of connectedness and truthfinding, episode 304, is one of my most streamed ever.
This week, he weaves at least a dozen thought patterns that might change your life forever. He is both flatly at peace with the end of all life and truthfully optimistic on our chances. You’re going to want to settle in for this one. Open your mind, and your notebook. Zach is a deep pool of mindblowing knowledge and perspective. I’m so excited to bring you this conversation.
Are we a species at war with itself? What does our African unconscious reveal about all of us? Dr. Edward Bruce Bynum urges people to come together in his new book Our African Unconscious: The Black Origins of Mysticism and Psychology. Science, evolution, and deep religion all point us in the same direction. According to Dr. Bynum, ultimately, we must love each other or die.
He also a licensed psychologist and Diplomat in clinical psychology, and a senior fellow in the National Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. His focus is psychosomatic medicine, hypnosis and individual psychotherapy.
20 min presentation on the law of sustainability, presented by Sally Goerner, Bernard Lietaer and Robert Ulanowicz.
- Why we need this law: our world is not sustainable.
- The law of sustainability and its key terms defined: flow of energy, matter and information; sustainability; resilience; efficiency
- More important for mankind than Newton’s law of universal gravitation.
Abstract: This presentation reviews key concepts in sustainability and asks deep questions about why there are so many symptoms of environmental crises present in the world today (climate disruption, mass species extinctions, nitrogen cycle disruption, ocean acidification, crises with food, energy, and water, and many more). These symptoms relate to the prevailing approach, in which we use reductionist mental models and treat living and environmental systems as if they are mechanisms. However, contrary to machines, ecological systems show much resilience and capacity to self-organize, regenerate, increase their organization and complexity, and improve their environment over time. We propose that achieving a sustainable world will require a shift in the way we approach life and life sciences. The good news is that such a shift is possible now, without the need of waiting for new technologies, and is limited only by our willingness.
Both the quantum physicist and the poet make prescient guides to living into the mystery, the unsettled, the unknown. Never simple abstraction, such exploration has material consequences for how we live and make the world; it opens new ways and doors to examine what it means to be a self and to work towards justice together. Reaching out to explore intimacy, interconnection, and intra-action, to feel the touch and hear the voice of the void, the quantum physicist feminist theorist Karen Barad writes from within and deeper into the quantum indeterminacy that is the space of all possibility. In this lecture, we will follow Barad into the inhuman and the infinite, finding the vastest of multitudes in the smallest particle, and spirited ghosts teetering in the void.
To explore how molecules became signs I will ask: “What sort of process is necessary and sufficient to treat a molecule as a sign?” This requires focusing on the interpreting system and its interpretive competence. To avoid assuming any properties that need to be explained I develop what I consider to be a simplest possible molecular model system which only assumes known physics and chemistry but nevertheless exemplifies the interpretive properties of interest. Three progressively more complex variants of this model of interpretive competence are developed that roughly parallel an icon-index-symbol hierarchic scaffolding logic. The implication of this analysis is a reversal of the current dogma of molecular and evolutionary biology which treats molecules like DNA and RNA as the original sources of biological information. Instead I argue that the structural characteristics of these molecules have provided semiotic affordances that the interpretive dynamics of viruses and cells have taken advantage of. These molecules are not the source of biological information but are instead semiotic artifacts onto which dynamical functional constraints have been progressively offloaded during the course of evolution.
Keywords Autogenesis · Information · Constraint · Interpretation · Scaffolding · Virus
Seven parameters are described that distinguish three hierarchically nested system dynamics that are characteristic of partially-bounded open subsystems. These are used to characterize the transition from self-organized inorganic to self-regulated living systems which exhibit self-synthesis, self-reproduction, and self-reconstitution in response to damage. This analysis demonstrates that yoked self-organizing processes that generate each-others’ boundary conditions can produce a form of co-dependent unity that exhibits these end-directed properties. A simple empirically testable molecular model system — an autogenic virus — is described for exploring these dynamical properties.
Keywords: organism, constraint, dissipative processes, self-organization, morphodynamics, autogenesis, MEPP, virus