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View Full Version : Expl Systs & Networks: Demons and Calluses


James Brody
January 7th, 2006, 06:26 PM
I woke as Dean Edell, 4am, WBAL, summarized some research: good batters see larger balls, anorectics see larger hamburgers. No surprise that I saw people as "stubby" after I suddenly lost 20 pounds after the arteries were rerouted around my heart. Violinists have larger representation of their hands in their motor cortex. Both brains and fingers make calluses, both hands and minds are exploratory systems.

There can be bizarre outcomes: a motorcycle takes over my life, a reasonable guy is convinced that "The one-bullet theory is about me, not Jack Kennedy," and loyal wife and mom falls in love with a baseball player in the television. Obsessions and repetitive signal mutinies wherein one network takes over its competitors. As Richard Lewontin observed:

"Organisms are extremely internally heterogeneous. Their states and motions are consequences of many intersecting causal pathways, and it is unusual that normal variation in any one of these pathways has a strong effect on the outcome. To be ill is precisely to be dominated by a single causal chain. To be obsessed by an idée fixe which motivates all one's actions, or to be convinced that all behavior on the part of others, without distinction, is hostile, is a form of mental illness...Indeed, we may define 'normality' as the condition in which no single pathway controls the organism." Lewontin, 2000, pp. 93-94.

Emergent networks and organizational dominance implies a simplification of the underlying systems. Just as the units in a Wal-Mart or a Bose-Einstein Condensate act alike, so do the populations of impoverished societies. During love, desperation, obsession, or possession, so do networks of neurons.

References

Barabasi, A-L (2002) Linked: The New Science of Networks. NY: Perseus.
Kirschner, M. & Gerhart, J. (2005) The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin's Dilemma. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Lewontin, R. (1998/2000) Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, Environment. Cambridge, MA, Harvard.

Copyright, 2006, James Brody, all rights reserved.