lördag, oktober 15, 2005

Complexity out of Simplicity

While consciousness has been a mystery for a long time - “the longest-drawn-out detective story in our history” according to a swedish scientist - our rather simple thoughts about it might seem to be somehow offensive. In a way they are. That the most obvious of question about consciousness, ie what the purpose of it is in the first place, never was asked seriously untill now is indeed embarrassing.

How the other animals are percieving their world we cannot know, but most of our own pictures of the world appear to be of infinite complexity. It may be difficult to see how such complex pictures are accumulated by “a function of all living organisms for survival, well-being and development”.
And thinking of “our great history“ and of the world of today, it may even be difficult to comprehend that all of this, basically, is the results of questions of wether ”to gain, leave, avoid or keep“.

Professor of ethology Patrick Bateson takes this view: ”Although on the surface the developmental process is so imensely complicated, the underlying rules are analogous to those that underlie a game of chess. The rules of chess are simple, but the games that can be generated by those rules are enormously complex. What we have to do as scientists is try to understand rules that produce a design for a life.”

To exist is to be, at some place and time, in some state including possibilities for change. To live is to exist.
A
ny living organism being part of any existing world has, in principle, but two alternatives: To maintain a situation as it is, or to change it in a possible way. "Decisions" to choose one alternative instead of the other are all based on the questions of wether to gain, leave, avoid or keep.