Discussion 10C: Are you a Good Witch, or a Bad Witch?

From the perspective of Glinda, the Good Witch of the North in the classic movie “The Wizard of Oz”, any individual who could just drop a house on someone in Munchkinland could not be just an ordinary somebody, that person must be another witch, and so her muddlement with Dorothy’s’ identity was limited to this singular determination.


Much in the same way, the dilemma of the dangling direction vector in our evolving motile metazoan scenario presents a similar singular dichotomy in resolution. The photonic exteroception developed in our primordial metazoan has by its nature identified a shadow in its environment, and the growing sophistication in the organisms’ sensory complex has computed a direction vector having a magnitude value for presentation to the organisms’ emotive complex, but like Glinda, the emotive complex still does not know what kind of witch has come into Munchkinland.

Prior to the evolution of photonic sensation, the neural adaptations of the emotive complex in our organism had been designed to accept a direction vector to a sensory idiom from the sensory complex, along with an emotive component indicating the aversive or attractive quality of the idiom, at which point the motoric complex could be signaled to release any phylogenetically evolved motor sequences that would move the organism either toward or away from the vectored idiom.

The preceding discussion outlined how Nature might have evolved a persistence mechanism which could lead to an indirect apprehension of the emotive character for photonic signaling, by resolving the simultaneous temporal differences in those signals. Now, in order to unwind that mouthful of techno-babble, the discussion must explain an apparent teleological issue in this, which is the issue that simultaneous temporality is an oxymoron, a logical condition that does not exist in reality, and unlike simultaneous spatial differences cannot be signaled by any sensory modality.

In discussion 4, the dialog presented the nature of Knowledge as an abstract correlation of Time and Space by the singular cognitive neural capabilities of Man, which formed the wellspring for all his further intellectual activities. Since the concepts of Time and Space are themselves both abstractions, cognitive science has always tried to reconcile the dilemma that is posed by the question of whether the individual abstractions of Time and Space came before their correlation, or did the correlation occur first (in a seemingly teleological fashion), with amorphous conceptualizations of temporal and spatial dimensions, which were later definitively abstracted as separate concepts. To address this, the Organon Sutra will assume the perspective that the resolution is really just a matter of an interpretation of the nature of abstraction itself, and it has taken the huge number of paragraphs since that definition of Knowledge in discussion 4, to this point in the dialog, in order to provide the concepts with which to weave a common understanding, a universe of discourse, that would allow an analysis of the neurophysiological origins of elementary abstraction itself.

It is elementary abstraction that forms the neural foundation for cognitive abstraction, which will be the subject of the Third Fundamental Precept. And it is only after an understanding of cognitive abstraction can the students of massively asynchronous assemblies formulate the concepts to engineer the emergent behavior of gestalt abstraction, which is a progression that the entirety of the Organon Sutra is building to, because gestalt abstraction is the framework with which cognitive Man can form those two supreme abstractions of Time and Space.

And now that we have developed the concepts for discussing elementary abstraction, the dialog needs to remind the bottom-up engineer that this abstraction must occur without changing the behavior of the circuitry that signals the instantaneous environmental information that is used in that abstraction, circuitry that has to function without modification by any prior signaling. Additionally, since the entire neural array of our evolving motile metazoan has been based so far on instantaneous signaling, it is not so oxymoronic for the bottom-up engineer to understand that instantaneous signaling is, in itself, temporally dimensionless.

With the neurophysiological mechanisms of persistence, illustrated in the previous discussion, providing a synthetic temporal dimension to instantaneous signaling, the Organon Sutra wants to demonstrate to the bottom-up engineer that, at the neurophysiological level, the epic development of elementary abstraction occurs when the organisms’ neural array feeds this synthetic temporal dimension back into the initial processes of instantaneous sensation, as if the synthetic dimension was itself a true exteroception. It is this vital construct of temporality in the evolution of neurophysiology that the Hebbian doctrine cannot demonstrate.

And it is this vital process that sets the stage to define that most important concept of state in the organism. With the evolution of metabotropic persistence and the feedback of synthetic temporality, the initial pre-cognitive abilities of the ascending emotive complex can now develop the apprehension of specific transitions in the constant flow of instantaneous exteroceptive signaling, accompanied by a further refinement of the neural assemblies that determine these unique states of sensation.

So, with that, the Organon Sutra will offer its initial, formal definition for state in the neural array of an organism, as any temporally dimensionless signaling in the neural system of an organism that is given temporality through the synthetic mechanisms of persistence. Here, biological temporality is defined as the dendritic summation of at least two temporally disjoint signals that would not ordinarily be summed by unbiased ionotropic mechanisms.

This formal definition must be joined with an effective definition of state in the organism, which defines an effective state in the organism as the axonic action potentials triggered (in part) by dendritic summation accomplished by persistent temporality. It cannot be overstressed here how significant the nonlinear effects of state synthesis will be on subsequent neural complexes that are responsive to that constant flow of instantaneous signaling. And as the dialog proceeds through the Third Fundamental Precept, the Organon Sutra will present those formal engineering definitions that translate the definitions of biological temporality into the digital forms which will be used in the artificial implementation of our intelligent agent.

It is the expression of state in their physiology that allows neurons to ditch the need for passive encoding in their signaling behavior, a primary consideration for the bottom-up engineer in the language of neuron-speak. And certainly the bottom-up engineer can understand now how utterly ineffective hierarchical design methodologies would be at arriving at this level of complexity, and why the Organon Sutra had to assume an almost boot camp drill instructor demeanor in order to infuse students of massively asynchronous assemblies with a bottom-up engineering mentality. And the dialog has to wonder if the bottom-up engineer also realizes that the roots of abstraction and cognition germinate this far back in the evolution of Natures’ nervous systems, with even such a relatively unsophisticated neural array as the one expressed in the motile metazoan developing in the present imagination scenario.

The dialog will at this point return briefly to the imagination scenario because there are certain aspects of state synthesis which must be specified to complete the formalization.

We return to the scenario in order to specify the critical aspects that Nature would need to learn in order to implement the functionality that will assert state in the organism, allowing a resolution to the situation of the dangling direction vector, a product of the sensory complex in our motile metazoans’ neural array, which does not have any survival value to the metazoans emotive complex without the signaling of an aversive or attractive emotive characteristic in its exteroception.

At this point, the bottom-up engineer can imagine that there might be a number of ways that Nature would utilize the epochal evolution of persistence to implement a synthetic equivalent to the missing emotive component, and perhaps the first adaptation imagined would be the development of a circuit that signaled any phasic change at all in the photonic direction vector, a functionality now made possible by the temporality introduced by the persistence mechanism. It is not too difficult to see how selective pressures would adopt the (synthetic) signaling of change in the direction vectors of shadows as if it were the correspondent expression of an emotive value: If the direction vector is changing, then there would be survival value in treating the signal as aversive, and something to steer away from, and if the shadow is unchanging, it could be treated as non-aversive, and something to steer toward, for further exploration by the more discriminating contact exteroception of the organisms’ ramified antennae.

And in time, Nature would discover further refinements to this synthetic emotive scheme, because there would be the magic of second order state synthesis: This occurs when two or more ionotropically disjoint synthetic effective signals are given temporality and subsequently trigger a second order synthetic effective action potential. Surely it would not take too much experimentation by Nature to develop this second order synthetic derivative in the scheme, whereby the changing first order direction vector of a shadow is further bifurcated by its movement either toward the organism, or not toward the organism. Ensuing adaptations of this second order synthetic discrimination could conceivably result in a multitude of phylogenetically evolved response behaviors, each with their own survival value.

The ability to develop these synthetic emotive schemes opens up an entirely new road for evolution to follow, a road leading to true perception and then cognition in many organisms, and ultimately, to intelligence in Man. But the development of the persistence mechanism in neurophysiology, although the most important, is just one component of a number of adaptations that Nature will need to evolve as she assembles a vehicle to travel down that new road of neural sophistication. The next of these subsequent adaptations, after the development of the persistence mechanisms itself and the development of synthetic emotive schemes, is brought about because of a previously mentioned neurophysiological imperative, which is the requirement that the persistence mechanism must operate without changing the behavior of the circuitry that signals the instantaneous information from the environment in the first place. In order to necessarily insulate the sensory complex from the adaptations of persistence, Nature would need to initially push the evolutions of metabotropic neurophysiology into the emotive complex, which was previously concerned with just the “steering and throttle control” of the locomotive axis.

With the integration of emotive state synthesis, the emotive complex of our primordial metazoan will need to grow in its sophistication, expressing additional behaviors just as important as its signaling to the motoric complex. Where the sensory complex is climbing a ladder of apprehension for the dimensionality in the environment, the emotive complex will now be expressing a growing sophistication in the cognition of that dimensionality.