The electrical blueprints that orchestrate life

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The electrical blueprints that orchestrate life

Michael Levin


Quote:DNA isn't the only builder in the biological world -- there's also a mysterious bioelectric layer directing cells to work together to grow organs, systems and bodies, says biologist Michael Levin. Sharing unforgettable and groundbreaking footage of two-headed worms, he introduces us to xenobots -- the world's first living robots, created in his lab by cracking the electrical code of cells -- and discusses what this discovery may mean for the future of medicine, the environment and even life itself. (This conversation, hosted by TED's Chris Anderson, was recorded June 2020.)
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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I’m sure I remember reading an article from a Russian paper about the “bioelectric body”. If I recall correctly is was suggested this was perhaps a mechanism that the mind somehow used as an interface to the brain and the rest of the body.I’ve had a quick search and can’t find the reference but if I do I’ll post it.

It does also remind me of Rupert Sheldrake’s idea of biomorphic fields.
(This post was last modified: 2021-05-06, 05:08 PM by Obiwan.)
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(2021-05-04, 07:58 AM)Obiwan Wrote: It does also remind me of Rupert Sheldrake’s idea of biomorphic fields.
talk about a "wow" discovery........

The connection to Sheldrake and others is noted here.

https://explore.scimednet.org/index.php/...tructions/
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(2021-05-04, 07:58 AM)Obiwan Wrote: I’m sure I remember reading an article from a Russian paper about the “bioelectric body”. If I recall correctly is was suggested this was perhaps a mechanism that the mind someone used as an interface to the brain and the rest of the body.I’ve had a quick search and can’t find the reference but if I do I’ll post it.

It does also remind me of Rupert Sheldrake’s idea of biomorphic fields.

Ah I vaguely recall there was something about this from a Russian source...btw there is a paper from a few years back showing some very interesting neural communication that might be related ->

New Form of Neural Communication

Quote:The team's most radical finding was that these electrical fields can activate neurons through a complete gap in severed brain tissue, when the two pieces remain in close physical proximity.

"To ensure that the slice was completely cut, the two pieces of tissue were separated and then rejoined while a clear gap was observed under the surgical microscope," the authors explain in their paper.

"The slow hippocampal periodic activity could indeed generate an event on the other side of a complete cut through the whole slice."

If you think that sounds freaky, you're not the only one. The review committee at The Journal of Physiology – in which the research has been published – insisted the experiments be completed again before agreeing to print the study.

(thread here)
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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Thanks sci that’s very interesting. It’s  not what I was thinking of unfortunately- I recall the implication was that there is a “bio electrical body” which complements the physical body. It made me think of the time of something intermediate to the physical and “astral” body.
(This post was last modified: 2021-05-06, 05:12 PM by Obiwan.)
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(2021-05-06, 02:26 PM)stephenw Wrote: talk about a "wow" discovery........

The connection to Sheldrake and others is noted here.

https://explore.scimednet.org/index.php/...tructions/

Yes it’s a really interesting observation  isn’t it? I read The Science Delusion in which he explores it in some depth if I recall correctly.
(This post was last modified: 2021-05-06, 05:13 PM by Obiwan.)
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(2021-05-03, 06:01 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: The electrical blueprints that orchestrate life

Michael Levin
Quote: I propose a semi-quantitative metric, based on the spatio-temporal boundaries of events that systems measure and try to control, that can be used to define and compare the cognitive boundaries for highly diverse types of agents (which could be biological, exo-biological, or artificial). Ideas from the fields of proto-cognition, developmental biophysics, and information theory offer a novel lens with which to understand the evolution, development, physiology, and behavior of a wide range of living systems. Focusing on information processing and decision-making enables a unifying conception of goal-directedness in biological systems, which naturally scales from simple homeostatic pathways to complex cognition via evolutionarily ancient physiological mechanisms of cell-cell communication.

First, let me say that the guts of this article and research program behind it are out of my scope of a full understanding.   The above paragraph is loaded and wordy.  It is only because I have followed the subject as a amateur for more than 20 years that it makes any sense to me.  

Second, it is using all the tools in the informational toolbox.  The last sentence (my bolding) is jammed packed.  In particular, it ties decision making and goals to information processes.  Then it asserts that the outcomes coming from targeted behavior scale  from simple to complex.  Then it points to where the evidence is ->  cell-to cell communication.

Quote: This work is dedicated to the memory of Werner Loewenstein, a pioneer of the importance of gap junctions in the physiology of body and mind.


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9470...ne-of-life
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(2021-05-06, 05:13 PM)Obiwan Wrote: Yes it’s a really interesting observation  isn’t it? I read The Science Delusion in which he explores it in some depth if I recall correctly.
It just occurred to me there may be a way to talk about it.  My career evolved around fabricated copper and in the world of copper usage there was two major categories - electrical transmission and electronic devices.

The power cable folks consumed the most copper and with their partners in switch gear products produce copper for high voltage power.  The signal in the copper is random to any communication and it's the flow of electrons in transmission that count.

The other side were the electronics manufacturers.  Finer copper wire and components are used.  Copper traces in printed circuits are even finer yet.  The goal is signal integrity - because there are messages that represent the target state.  These messages are what is important  The signals are not random, but specified with symbols and framed by logical organization toward this goal state.

The bio-electric body in the Levin article is a physical body!  Note that he cites Dan Dennett as helping him.  But the science - the information science - is startling.  It is an electrical body he is looking at.  

As to an image of an individual electronic body - one where all the thoughtful and meaningful stuff is - I would suggest a spiritual body.  That is where the decisions and the will behind them are traditionally placed.  That is where art, music, emotion persist.  

Politically, I see the science building up the image of an "informational body".  One that can still handle a physicalist worldview, but unintentionally is coming ever closer to mind and spirit.
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(2021-05-06, 07:12 PM)stephenw Wrote: Politically, I see the science building up the image of an "informational body".  One that can still handle a physicalist worldview, but unintentionally is coming ever closer to mind and spirit.


A shrewd point!  I'm okay playing that game as while it may be more hopeful than evidential.... I see the physicalist worldview as something that will fade away.
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(2021-05-03, 06:01 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: The electrical blueprints that orchestrate life

Michael Levin

Just came across this via Daily Grail.  Seems like amazing break through for new approaches to understanding.

Also clearly demonstrates inheritance of an acquired characteristic (two heads!)  This scientist should get a Nobel prize.
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