Creatura: The Universe of Life
Information, any difference that makes a difference, complexifies in Creatura, the universe of life. Photons radiating onto the plant leaf can trigger things that photons radiating onto a rock don’t. The leaf may photosynthesize, the rock doesn’t: not in any way that we’ve noticed: we in Persona, subset of Sentiens, subset of Creatura.
The best we can tell, nothing happening in Pleroma is nothing happening. It triggers nothing. Ah, but nothing can be a trigger in creatura. The louse climbs a tree, waits to smell blood. If it smells blood, that’s information, a trigger. The louse lets go of its hold on the tree, drops toward the forest floor. It lands on the source of the blood, it may then score some blood. Success. But if it smells no blood, information, after a certain time, the louse drops anyway: and searches for another tree to hunt from. In creatura zero information is not no information.
Information in Creatura is very different from information in Pleroma. And that in itself is a source of metainformation.
My example of the louse is from Gregory Bateson. The terms Pleroma and Creatura are likewise from Gregory Bateson. My terms Sentiens and Persona I add myself: extending. Clarifying, developing further.
But: here’s an additional complication: Creatura occupies Pleroma. We know of no way Creatura could exist without a physical universe to exist in, on, with, around … But Creatura transforms what it touches. Where there is life, the life tends to spread: everywhere. Gaia is not a rock with a plant sitting on it. Plants merge into the rocks, penetrate some.
The other day I was wading in my favorite fishing lake. It wasn’t me standing in water: one creature occupying part of Pleroma; the water was a rich soup of life. Algae, growing and reproducing by the second, layered the surface, rippling in the wind. The bluegill leapt for my popper. And before it did, uncounted creatures were nibbling on my ankles, taking up residence under my skin. Ho boy, a breeding ground!
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Creatura seems to have emerged naturally within Pleroma, though the issue is by no means settled. I doubt if it ever will be. (Settlements are for people with pressing other business; uncertainty is the permanent state of intelligence.)
We have no more idea of the extent or age of Creatura than astronomers had of Pleroma until recently. Creatura exists on earth: of that we are sure; where or how it originated we have no idea … but astronomers for decades have been finding complex chemistry among the stars. When biologists are in a position to explore off-earth, who knows what they’ll find. Personally I believe that life did not originate on earth but was seeded here.
Nevertheless Creatura seems to be less old, less widespread, than Pleroma. Creatura follows from, and within, Pleroma. The potential for life exists in matter/energy.
(See my corresponding statements for each of the others.)
There is no letter “A” in Pleroma, no Shakespeare, no Mozart, and there is no letter A in Creatura either: until Sentiens, and then Persona, develop. The beetle occupies Creatura before the whale, the chimp, or Marie Curie. A beetle encountering a letter “A” written my Marie Curie may crawl all over it, defecate on it, deposit its eggs on it, but it will not read it: not ever, ever, ever; unless it evolves to somehow join Sentiens.
In a Philip Wylie novel stars (Pleroma) changed position, beginning to form the letter “F” as seen from earth. (Note that those stars might not look like an F from some other vantage point.) Instantly, we think, not accident, but design. Some “person,” some intelligence, is doing that. Sentiens/Persona has no monopoly on information. It does have (thus far, apparently) a monopoly on intention: on sending a message.
Theologians one imagined the physical universe as an intentional artifact. They imagined it making “the music of the spheres.” We’re all familiar with that thinking. For Macroinformation, we must distinguish. In pk’s mapping of information there is no Mozart in Pleroma; only in Persona.
There was an appealing hypothesis around when I was in graduate school that plants responded to Mozart. I don’t believe that we know nearly enough to draw hard borders between categories. Where does Sentiens begin? Somewhere in Creatura (which of course is dependent on Pleroma).
Further note, monotheism, as we are all familiar, posits Persona, in the form of God, preceding Pleroma (and Time!). Macroinformation is conceived in the intellectual space of Darwin, followed by Bateson, followed by Prigogine.
Macroinformation does not reject the very appealing idea of intelligent design. It does recognize that we have no fossils of a designer. Therefore, for our purposes, Persona follows Sentiens, which follows Creatura, which follows Pleroma, which manifests in Time. Could there be a larger context in which Persona precedes Pleroma? precedes Time, or cohabits with Time? Sure. Why not? But not that we have any solid evidence for. Arguments, yes; solid evidence, no.
How Gaia complicates Pleroma I’ll return to. Right now, proceed to
Likewise, the question of whether and how macroinformation applies to Creatura I’ll return to. We’ll study it in /Sentiens/Persona first.
Astronomer Fred Hoyle “found” multi-light-year-long strands of cellulose between stars. Is the cellulose alive? Is it “real”? We don’t know enough to draw firm boundaries. See the territories first: boundaries will be drawn: and redrawn.
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