History Of The Brain as Part of Life

Figure 2.3: EvolutionaryBackground; Life starts somewhere before 3.5 Billion years ago

Being conscious about the Brain and Body as the root for any kind of conscious and mindful phenomena it makes sense (cf. diagram 2.3) to trace the present life forms back through the course of the evolutionary process to understand the basic mechanisms which are the driving forces for the development. The official discipline for this view on life within a cosmological perspective is Astrobiology (cf. [], [56], [400], [113], ) including the 'chemical evolution' (cf. [297])2.5.

Figure 2.4: Evolutionary Framework of Engineered Intelligent Systems

The general outline of the evolutionary framework presupposed for this lecture can be seen in figure 2.4. In this paper we restrict the investigation of the phenomenon of life to the realm of the planet earth. Perhaps there is more life in the measurable universe, but this is not at stake here.

The planet earth is assumed as the primary environment for the terrestrial phenomenon of life. Minimally it is assumed that earth represents a process with some spatial structure and objects.

The phenomenon of life is understood as manifesting through behaving individual systems which always are given as members of a population. The primary property of members of a population is the exchange of genetic information. The genetic information (the 'genotype') determines primarily the structure of a possible body (the 'phenotype') and thereby the possible behavior of an individual system. From the point of view of an acting population can the environment be understood as an open collection of tasks which have to be solved that a population will gain enough offspring to survive. All the genetic information of the whole population together represents the primary capital of the population, it's basic memory2.6. An individual member of a population is a process too: it has a certain point of 'departure' called birth. It shows - usually - some growth process, it should be able to directly exchange its genetic information (some kind of mating), it shows further - usually - some aging, and finally it will terminate, which is called death.

Figure 2.5: Evolutionary Loop of Systems of Life revealing an Implicit Logic

Figure 2.5 highlights the primary logic of life: whatever will be the surrounding conditions for life the primary process of survival is given in this continuous loop of copying combined with recombination (C+R) of the actually 'known' information without 'knowing' in which direction the process should move. Thus the C+R as such is a 'blind' mechanism and to a high degree 'deterministic'. The chemical properties of the participating molecules embedded in a certain 'chemical environment' allow only a limited number of combinations and chemical reactions. Thus, whatever will be the outcome of such C+R, it is determined by the 'point of departure'. The dynamics of the circumstances or some kinds of 'imperfections' of the chemical reaction chains can lead to 'random' changes called 'mutations'. But these mutations are 'part of the whole machinery'. Mutation does not lead 'outside' this mechanism, it completely happens 'inside' this chemical framework and 'reveals' only properties, which are a possibility of the given environment. In some sense it is a 'meta-level recombination' from a 'logical higher' system level and from this 'point of view' mutations are not random (only we as observers can not yet compute it).

Therefore if we want to understand the 'logic' of this process it is not enough to restrict the discussion to this mechanism as such. One has to include the whole context of the process, including the 'space of possibilities' inherent in the participating matter with all the inherent properties (partially revealed by today physics).

Nobody has done the job of a complete exhausting explanation yet.

But the following insights seem to be acknowledged by different authors:

  1. The one point is the fact that biological structures are somehow acting 'against entropy' by collecting free energy to built locally structures.
  2. The other point - even stronger - is, that this process not only collects 'some' structures, but structures of a kind, which 'behave' in a way that they increase 'by themselves' more and more.
  3. A third point - perhaps not so widely accepted as the preceding ones - is, that the main functions of these structures seem to be
    1. improving the methods to find and exploit free energy,
    2. as 'inner part' of the preceding point there is the increasing capability to 'model' the environment 'inside' the structures to improve a more 'situated' behavior (to exploit better and more energy).
    3. simultaneously with the improvement of the 'inner modeling' there happens an improvement of the exchange of information between systems.
  4. While the C+R mechanism as such is 'blind' and does therefore only 'blindly execute' the given 'laws' of a chemical world, the 'given world' 'uses' this blind mechanism to produce an incredible amount of solution candidates (within the given laws) and only those small subsets, which show up to be able to reproduce offspring are kept 'in the process'. Thus from the point of view of the blind C+R process one has to state that it is the chemical environment which is the 'actor' and the 'referee', because only the chemical environment 'decides' which productions are 'good' or 'bad'. This tells us that there is primarily no 'absolute' good and bad but only a 'good' and 'bad' with regard to the acting environment.
  5. Because we know that the chemical environment of the C+R process is part of the planet earth and we know that the planet earth is a 'product' of the environment 'solar system' within the galaxy 'milki way' as part of the (big bang?) universe, we have to transfer the 'actorship' into wider and wider environments, attributing to them the inherent properties ands laws guiding the evolving processes. With our actual knowledge it is then 'energy as such' which contains all necessary properties and laws driving all the known processes.

Gerd Doeben-Henisch 2013-01-14