Memory, Sentience and Consciousness
Cell Membranes, Immunity and Memory
5 Sept 2007
A. A Balanced Memory Network
"…So we're not exactly back to square one, but we're not much farther than square two: we no longer know how the brain holds so many memories. Roudi and Latham speculate that the answer lies in multiple, weakly coupled networks. However, until that, or some other idea, is shown to be correct, we will have to be content with just remembering, without the added knowledge of how we remember."
B. Again, the major fractal chronological, several-10^8-years macro layers, of Life's evolution:
1 – Individual independent genes evolve into cooperative interdependent gene aggregates/communities.
2 – Outer cell's membranes (OCM) evolve as the first and, still now, the major multi-functional organ of the gene aggregates/genomes, life's prime-stratum organisms.
3 – Individual cells evolve into symbiotic systems.
4 – Evolution of multicellular organisms.
C. The immune system is one of the earliest functions evolved via the genomes' organ/tool OCMs. It involves sensing, identification, recognition, in-cell communications, activation of proper tools and disposition of sensed intruder. The immune system evolved as a complex comprehensive inter-connected concerted package of many various functional components, parts of or located both on the OCM surfaces and inside the cell.
D. The mechanism of recognition, of either wide generic or of specific bodies, is founded on the structural-chemical features of the intruder. Thus it may be said rationally correctly that the immunity system has set up an extensive library of uniquely tagged bodies and an efficient process of info retrieval and analysis etc., The evolution of this system was started and efficiently advanced during the still-mono-cell eras A.2 and A.3 above.
I suggest/conjecture that with the onset of era A.4 above the OCM is faced with new pressing functional challenges. Whereas monocell communities have already developed intercell communications and concerted actions, in multicelled second-stratum organisms the ambient environments of the constituent cells is different and the required reactions to outer circumstances are different. The new requirements are met with physical and functional modifications of the OCM of some of the cells of the multicellular organisms, to eventually become neurons.
E. Some of the challenging interesting things to learn and search about memory via and by neurons are if, like its parent immunity, it is founded only on structural tags or on/also the location of the tags in the brain, and or/also on intimate linkage between the tag and a neuron's dendron, which is a physical modification/adaptation of the OCM, the oldest and most evolved organ of Earth's prime-stratum organism, the genome.
4 Oct 2005 Dov, in Brights forum.
(A) Piano1, you write:
[a] "I think it is analogical (metaphorical) reasoning in this case to compare the experience itself of conscious engagement with culture with unconscious structures and cellular processes. (How about trying immune system analogies?", and
[b] you also concur you think that "language usage is important to communicate to others".
(B) Now, I'm not embarassed to admit that I have never read anything by Lamarck or by Dawkins. I also would not be surprised to learn that most or all thoughts formulated in my mind have likewise been formulated in minds of other persons somewhere sometime. I think:
– Cultural functions and processes are actual, not analogical/metaphorical, extensions of inter- and intra-cell processes, and are for the same ends as those of biological processes, i.e. for survival of our genome.
– All organisms, also single-celled, have consciousness. It is the complexity of consciousness that varies from organism to organism. The baseline of consciousness is sensing mechanisms plus accompanying reaction processes.
– Immune system is common to ALL organisms. In its scope and features in humans and other animals it is prevalent and common also in plants. Its baseline is MEMORY, i.e. production and storage of a unique proprietary protein tag stored somewhere in the organism as a record of a sensed matter or – yes – of a thought (formulated or read or heard) negotiated by the correct neurons.
The base thing to remember by all of us small or big, plain or sophisticated, poor or rich, religious or humanists etc., is that ALL our characteristics and capabilities are accumulations passed to us (plus slight modifications by us) by and via ALL our predecessors all the way back to the start of life, to the self-duplication of the first Earthly gene… And it is our unique language communications that made possible the evolution of conscious humans.
24 01 2007, in Hypo forum.
Memory, Sentience and Consciousness
I apologize if I repeat some idea(s) expressed earlier in this thread; I just noted the title of the thread, Re Memory, and hurried to post without having read prior postings…
Three paras from my postings elsewhere few years ago. They may be relevent to this thread:
(A) Sentience was a functional capability of the earliest individual genes and has evolved into a more complex capability of genes commune cooperatives and, in normal ambient state, is switched-on or not and shared or not and leads to reaction or not depending on the location-tasks of the cells in which dwell the genes cooperatives.
(B) All organisms, including single-celled, have consciousness. It is the complexity of consciousness that varies from organism to organism. The baseline of consciousness is sensing mechanisms plus consequent and/or accompanying reaction processes.
(C) The Immune System is common to ALL organisms. In its scope and features in humans and other animals it is prevalent and common also in plants. Its baseline is MEMORY, which by analogy with immunity suggests to me to conjecture to be production and storage of unique protein tags stored somewhere in the organism as a record of a sensed matter and – in humans – also of a thought formulated, read or heard, negotiated by some certain neurons.
What do you speculate happens to cause memory loss from a head-knock given the protein tag scenario? Do you think the memory is gone, or simply access to it interrupted?
Turtle, I'd expect interrupted/damaged mechanism of either access to the protein tags or of conveying signal from the tags to deciphering or to the deciphering constellation.
Dov, you write " All organisms, including single-celled, have consciousness."
I would not oversimplify the term consciousness… When speaking about memory and consciousness, one should draw definite distinctions between the two. While some level of consciousness may exist in lower forms of life, I think it a bit of a stretch to use the word ALL.
Memory is a much more widely used term and can be used to refer to things as inanimate and lifeless as a coil spring. To use the two words interchangably is a mistake in my opinion.
Of course you'
re right re Memory, and let's bear in mind that immunity is based on most efficient memory.
Re consciousness, I partially concur with you. I suggest that ALL forms of life possess the attribute of Sentience, and that from the least towards the most evolved life forms Sentience has been gradually evolving into ever more complex Consciousness.
My pertinent word definitions are from Merriam-Webster:
Sentience = state of elementary or undifferenciated consciousness as distinguished from perception and thought.
Consciousness = the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself and/or of an external object, state, or fact.