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Max1951
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21 Feb 2019, 8:21 pm

I suppose even cavemen had specialists in hunting or in making fire. Historically, as the size of a group increases, so does the specialization of tasks within the group. Certain members develop certain expertises, and can produce to supply himself, and more, perhaps the whole village. Everyone benefits from specialization because, as a whole, the group can produce much more product more cheaply, when everyone does what he is expert at. And, going forward, it will take much greater specialization in order to produce enough product to sustain a growing population.

But with increasing specialization, comes increasing interdependence. If the village's one shoemaker dies leaving no apprentice, the whole town goes shoe-less. Eventually specialties while become so fractured, that the death of a single specialist might impact an entire country, or perhaps even the world. Drawing the regression line out into the future, I can envision a time when humanity functions as a single being, with each human being, being analogous to a human cell making up the human body. We are already laying down the nervous system of this new super-being, in the form of the worldwide net. What would the super-intellect of a humanity-being be like? What would we realize when we knew and integrated, all that is known humanity-wide?

Screw it. Fun to think about, but if man lasts that long it will be a miracle.



la_fenkis
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01 Mar 2019, 2:42 am

Sort of like a tribe as a whole is a single organism.

Just as the individual consumes a piece of bread, digests it into its component molecules, and distributes the carbohydrates and proteins, etc to individual cells, storing some in fat; so does the whole tribe consume the field of grain, grind it into flour and distribute that to individuals, storing some of it in granaries.

Just as ants differentiate into different physiological roles within the hive so too do humans specialize, primarily psychologically, within the tribe.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superorganism

Now, if people gather together, clustering into these psychological divisions, say, pianists begetting pianists, it almost appears more like a psychological variant of a holobiont, especially if you substitute the genetic underpinnings of that structure with memetics. Babies are like stem cells that differentiate through experience into specific kinds of cells. Cultural components act almost like antibodies, allowing the cells to recognize each other and reject foreign bodies.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holobiont

I do question if the tribe becoming too large and hyperspecialized is actually a good thing. Something about only meeting people in passing and the need to create a script that allows for effective interactions which could not possess the capacity to account for individual variations in experience, and a resulting homogenization and rejection of non-conforming people-cells. The cop-soldier-doctor-macrophage comes to destroy or correct any cell that doesn't differentiate properly and displays malfunctions.

And then there's the psychology of the superorganism. As best I can tell it's thoughts are memes and its name is Egregore. And inasmuch as individuals wish to extend lifespan, avoid disease and cancer, and thwart external threat, so does it.

But that's all well beyond science, more like philosophy.



Max1951
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01 Mar 2019, 8:39 am

la_fenkis wrote:
Babies are like stem cells that differentiate through experience into specific kinds of cells.

Cultural components act almost like antibodies, allowing the cells to recognize each other and reject foreign bodies.

The cop-soldier-doctor-macrophage comes to destroy or correct any cell that doesn't differentiate properly and displays malfunctions.


Great analogy making, la_fenkis. You even see biological terms used to describe social infrastructure. Main roads = arteries. First responder dispatch = nerve center or brains of the operation.

Another thing that hit me as i read your post is that, as we go from lower levels of organization to higher levels, a repeating pattern is displayed at the different levels. This is indicative of a fractal nature of reality.
Here's an example of a fractal that repeats at different levels.

High level - Civilizations have highways to allow for communication and distribution of materials to support life.

Mid level - Individual bodies have artery and nerve highways to allow for communication and distribution of materials to support life.

Low level - Individual cells in a human body have microtubule highways loaded with kinesin molecules, to allow for communication and distribution of materials to support life.



la_fenkis
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01 Mar 2019, 11:48 am

I broadly agree, but I'm hesitant to try to draw direct analogies in many cases. Especially at detailed levels once technology becomes involved.

As far as fractal cosmology, numerous have thought down that line, at least materially:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal_cosmology
And then you can connect it out through other domains of thought:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supervenience
In the extreme general:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indra's_net
But these are just Wikipedia entry-points, the sources and related materials are always the real things to explore.
And all of it well beyond accepted science, definitely philosophy.
However, I'd argue that a good deal of science above the level of chemistry itself fails to live up to the standards of science.
At some point in the future maybe I can get myself to read that Gödel, Escher, Bach book.



ids
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01 Mar 2019, 6:16 pm

the biggest problem with your analogy is that a cell within an organism is a dead end. From selfish gene theory point of view the cell best serves the organism not itself. Case in point: every cell in your body has a suicide gene if it detects that it has gone cancerous. Your cells act more like drones in an ant colony.

A human being is capable of reproduction, it serves itself and its selfish genes.


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ids
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01 Mar 2019, 6:20 pm

the biggest problem with your analogy is that a cell within an organism is a dead end. From selfish gene theory point of view the cell best serves the organism not itself. Case in point: every cell in your body has a suicide gene if it detects that it has gone cancerous. Your cells act more like drones in an ant colony.

A human being is capable of reproduction, it serves itself and its selfish genes.


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la_fenkis
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03 Mar 2019, 2:55 pm

ids wrote:
the biggest problem with your analogy is that a cell within an organism is a dead end. From selfish gene theory point of view the cell best serves the organism not itself. Case in point: every cell in your body has a suicide gene if it detects that it has gone cancerous. Your cells act more like drones in an ant colony.

A human being is capable of reproduction, it serves itself and its selfish genes.


I love interlocutors that begin with "the biggest problem with your..."

The selfish gene idea originated from Dawkins. As did the memes, which I'm citing here as the "genes" (which are the basis for his name memes) of a cultural superorganism.

Apoptosis doesn't work so simply. So case not in point.
A partially or fully differentiated cell does in fact replicate many times over the course of its lifespan.
You seem to be acting here a bit like an abstract soldier ant, going around squashing other viewpoints and reasserting the story.

The "selfish gene" also doesn't work that way. You don't encode complex behavior patterns at the level of coding for protein construction, which is what genes do. Complex behavior is programmed through machine I/O during its lifetime, at the meme level.

That's where my analogy of a baby being like a stem cell comes from. But it's just an analogy. Cells divide mitotically and people replicate sexually. But at the meme level a baby is mostly a blank slate, being built up with concepts begetting a wide array of complex behaviors according to the local conditions, the experiences endured and the psychological dynamics that form around them extending and differentiating an individuals accumulated memome, kinda like the local chemical signalling environment around a biological cell that leads to its differentiation. The sum total is a personality, effectively a fully differentiated human-cell in this analogy.

But it's an analogy, with limitations like all the rest. All analogies have limitations.

Read about Quine, Gödel, Searle, Baudrillard, and North Whitehead. Not just Dawkins.