Re: Re:The difference between a human and a rock

From: John M <>
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 2004 10:21:05 -0400

an apology:
I just misplaced a remark to this post of yours into my response
to Eugen as a PS.
Please forgive

John Mikes
----- Original Message -----
From: "Eric Hawthorne" <>
To: <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Saturday, April 17, 2004 3:03 AM
Subject: Re:The difference between a human and a rock

> How does a human differ in kind from a rock?
> -Well both are well modelled as being "slow processes" (i.e. localized
> states and events) in spacetime.
> - A process is a particular kind of "pattern of organization" of some
> subregion of spacetime.
> - We share being made of similar kinds of matter particles that stay
> close to each other in spacetime for
> some finite time period, and some finite spatial extent.
> Oh, but you said "how do we differ?"
> Well, a human roganism is a sub-unit of a longer-lived "species" pattern
> within an "organic emergent system eco-system"
> pattern.
> A rock does not appear to have that much complexity of form and
> autopoietic function.
> A rock is one of those kind of local spacetime patterns or systems that
> "doesn't have much choice about how it is."
> The laws of physics, and the nature of the rock's components and the
> thermodynamics of its vicinity are such that it
> pretty much collects into how it's going to be at some time, then is
> physically constrained to stay just that way,
> at macro scales anyhow, for a long period of time. Of course, being a
> big physical process pattern subject to
> the laws of thermodynamics, it is, actually, changing, and usually
> dissipating (disorganizing), just very, very slowly.
> A human organism pattern is existing at a thermodynamic range
> internally, and in a thermodynamic regime in its
> environment, that allows for more "options". for how (and e.g. where) to
> be (over short time scales.) Interestingly,
> this makes for the presence of all kinds of other similar organic
> patterns with options, and interesting behaviours
> (like eating you for dinner, or infecting you and eating your cell
> structure.) In other words, this thermodynamic
> regime, and the particular kinds of atoms and chemical bonds in
> ecosystems, make for active competition for
> which should be the dominant pattern of organization of matter and
> energy in the vicinity. i.e. You can't always
> just be a rock, because there might be a creature with a hammer wanting
> to break you down into cement.
> Or you can't live for ever, as an organism, because something else wants
> to re-pattern your matter and energy;
> that is, the matter and energy your pattern has competed successfully to
> borrow for its form for a while.
> Clear as oozing primordial subterranean sulphur-vent mud?
> Ok but here's the interesting part of the story. Because there are
> "options for how to be i.e. how to hold together"
> at our organic ecosystem thermodynamic regime, there is
> "pattern-competition" for who is the most auto-poietic
> (i.e. what forms of matter and energy collection can hold together best,
> at the expense of others).
> And it turns out that life-like ecosystem patterns, species patterns,
> and organism patterns win out for a time,
> precisely because their main function is autopoiesis, and they
> eventually, through natural selection, get very
> good at it.
> And it may turn out that the way you survive best as a pattern in
> spacetime, assuming you have a certain
> thermodynamic range to work with, is to store inside yourself
> INFORMATION about "that which is
> outside yourself and nearby. i.e. about your environment. In otherwords,
> pattern, if you want to live, get
> out there and start RE-PRESENTING aspects of your environment WITHIN
> YOURSELF (in some
> partly abstract form within some aspect of your own form.)
> Eventually, if you do that, simple representation
> of your environment. "Ouch that hurt. I'm going to flail the other way
> outa here." or
> "hmmm, my complex molecules like the smell and molecular fit of YOUR
> complex molecules"
> will give way to complex representation within the organism of its
> environment, and complex action plans
> to be carried out to protect the organism (and its kin's) pattern from
> nastier aspects of the environment.
> So we get "Hmmm. I think that guy and his army is out to get me and
> mine." "I think I will pre-emptively
> strike on that other guy's country because he vaguely looks like the
> first guy." Ok, bad example.
> or you get "Hmmm. What an intelligent (accurate
> environment-representer), capable (effective environment
> modifier and pacifier), and beautiful (pattern-form-average-conformant)
> woman she is. I'll ask her to marry me.
> Or something like that.
> And that's the major difference between humans and rocks. Our
> thermodynamic regime necessitates that
> we navigate options for our existence/non-existence as stable patterns
> by representing informationally, then
> navigating and affecting, our surrounding space, time, matter, and
> energy forms.
> Eric
> Hal Ruhl wrote:
> > Hi Stephen:
> >
> > Observers:
> >
> > In this venue dances interact and change each other discontinuously by
> > mutual collision or by exchanging smaller dances.
> >
> > How then does a human differ in kind from a rock? Should we expect
> > them to differ in kind?
> >
> > Yours
> >
> > Hal
> >
Received on Sat Apr 17 2004 - 11:20:41 PDT

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