Saturday, December 16, 2017

development and repair

I cut my finger a few days ago. It stopped bleeding, but the next day I bumped it on something and it bled some more.

I was thinking about how it heals. There are some mechanisms that detect injury and deploy repair processes. But it never goes back exactly to how it was before the injury.

Scar tissue is an obvious example, but I wonder if this is pervasive, essentially because there are different mechanisms for healing than for development.

I wonder if it's difficult for evolution to find healing mechanisms that exactly replicate development mechanisms. If they only approximate, then over time your body (originally patterned through development to function well) is gradually replaced by structures that are trying imperfectly to replicate the original ones.

Could species with low senescence be the ones that keep re-using their developmental mechanisms?

Would that also mean that solving ageing could be nearly impossible because we'd have to design repair mechanisms that perfectly match all the developmental mechanisms?

great filter

1) you could say intelligence means being able to give yourself what you want.

2) giving yourself what you want often isn't good for you. food makes you fat, youtube videos make you conservative or liberal.

3) does this explain why we don't see intelligent life anywhere in the universe?

there are feedback mechanisms to defend against getting fat, like dieting. but could it be that as our ability to give ourselves what we want in many domains accelerates, it overpowers those mechanisms. is this what inevitably kills any intelligent species?

ps. this is steve's idea

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

hot-cold cycles

one other connection clicked with me this weekend. maybe it's pretty obvious, but i never noticed it before. in some spiritual practices there's a concept of alternating between:
1) forcing yourself to focus (which is in a way kind of unnatural), and
2) allowing yourself to not focus.
like, tibetan buddhism calls it "intensifying" and "easing up".

meanwhile, i've been kind of obsessed with the tradeoff between "accepting yourself" and "challenging yourself". challenging myself is like: i try to find what i'm afraid of, and force myself to let it happen. that helps me get past some of my fears, even though i always dread doing it. but, accepting myself is that i don't have to do that all the time, i can just rest and accept that i have fears and that they're causing problems for myself and other people.

i think that tradeoff (challenging vs accepting) has been interesting to me because i've never been able to find any kind of conceptual framework to get underneath those concepts. it seems like there's value in being kind to yourself, but also value in challenging yourself, even though they're almost opposite.

anyway, the question is: could the rhythm of challenging and accepting be the same as the heating and cooling cycles that seem to be necessary for life?