Knowing

The process of living boils down to data processing. To render the mirage of physicality, symbolic processing fabricates physical correlates. Genetics is just the beginning.

The energyism doctrine posits that existence is symbolic representation made “real” via mentation – the mind creates the world of the lifeform in which it is extant.

All is process. The concept of objects and bodies – including the idea of a mind – are illusions created via mentation.

A universal/unified-yet-localized natural force of coherence creates, manages, and dispenses the integrated, hierarchical network of symbols from which sensation arises.

This ongoing performance is grand entertainment for a universal ─łonsciousness – generator of individual consciousnesses which witness as a participatory behavior. Consciousness begets awareness, which is the ultimate consumer of symbols.

Sentience in the known physical realm ranges from macromolecules such as proteins to multicellular eukaryotes.

Whereas the mind appears of a singular mint, as it speaks in a singular voice of conscious thought, complex organisms have hive minds of the cells and microbiome constituents. Yet the mental chorus intones solo. This creates the mirage of having “a mind” and thereby instantiates the idea of individuality, which is the foundational construct of the duality which defines Nature (the exhibition of existence).

Indian American cytologist Antony Jose notes that “analyses of living systems from molecular to population scales have revealed information storage and processing across multiple scales as key attributes of life.”

That organisms and even cells learn is indisputable, having been observationally and experimentally verified innumerable times. Also well verified is that survival-relevant informational kernels of life experiences are also heritable: what is commonly called instinct and is more formally known as precocious knowledge.

Matterists would like to explain the essentialities by which information is processed and stored organically, but the effort always falls short. For 6 decades geneticists thought DNA coding was the end-all and be-all of heritable information transfer. 21st-century discoveries led to appreciation of chemical markers – epigenetics – as instrumental in inheritance. Jose creatively adds to that the “information stored in the concentrations, configurations and interactions of molecules”: that the specific dynamic molecular arrangements comprise heritable organic data storage.

Yet matter alone cannot explain how awareness or the symbolic constructs which the mind fabricates from sensations arise. Data is meaningless without the means to give it meaning – what we call cognition.

Seeds bide their time until favorable conditions arise: a tolerable temperature and sufficient moisture to make a go of sprouting. The configurations of atoms or spaces between molecules cannot explain how a seed knows when and how to behave.

The specific mechanics by which we – or anything organic – “know” anything certainly can’t be explained by hidden codes in matter. What reads the code and makes sense of it, then sallies forth with intelligence – bigger chunks of matter? How exactly does that work?

There is an unbridgeable chasm between (what we perceive as) material objects – however infinitesimal – and the coherent energy by which data are processed and decisions driven.

Energy itself is nothing more than an idea: a conceptual hand-waving that merely pretends at comprehension. Quite precisely, knowledge itself cannot be known. Epistemology is the greatest mystery.

References:

Ishi Nobu, “The mechanics of existence,” (10 December 2019).

Antony M. Jose, “A framework for parsing heritable information,” Interface (April 2020).

“DNA may not be life’s instruction book – just a jumbled list of ingredients,” ScienceDaily (22 April 2020).

Antony M. Jose, “Replicating and cycling stores of information perpetuate life,” BioEssays (2018).

Edith Heard & Robert A. Martienssen, “Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance: myths and mechanisms,” Cell (2014).

Sydney Brenner, “Sequences and consequences,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (2010).

Further reading:

Ishi Nobu, Unraveling Reality: Behind the Veil of Existence (2019).