Mitochondrial Memes (part 1: Logos)

In the beginning, there was the Word.


On the molecular level, you are a braid in spacetime, a homeostatic system bringing in energy and nutrients, building cells, removing wastes, and up- or down-regulating processes as necessary to keep you properly warm, rested, and healthy. Homeostatic malfunction leads to chaos: death.

from Life is a Braid in Spacetime by Max Tegmark, Illustration by Chad Hagen
from Life is a Braid in Spacetime by Max Tegmark, Illustration by Chad Hagen

Your children are physical continuations of yourself. Your family, your community, businesses, your nation, and possibly the entire Earth itself are homeostatic. They live and they can die.

Thought is still a tricky matter. We don’t know, exactly, how we get from neurons lighting up in the brain to conscious thoughts, feelings, and desires. We know, for example, which parts of the brain control desire, but we don’t know how, exactly, you end up dreaming about a square of carefully crafted dark chocolate.

Nevertheless, we know that thoughts originate here, in our brains. Our ideas are the physical manifestations of the particular state of our neurons–a particular experience of a particular point in our journey through our spacetime braid. But unlike, say, the particular arrangement of molecules in my stomach, which I cannot convey to you, I can convey to you my ideas. And if it takes a certain configuration of active neurons in my head for me to experience a thought, then it takes another, probably similar configuration of active neurons in your head.

Conversation–understanding of each other–requires sharing each other’s brain states; our brains physically repeat each other’s patterns. Ideas create brain states; brain states create ideas.

The natural world => stimulus => neural activation => ideas => physical encoding => stimulus => neural activation => action => changes in the physical world.

Ideas are created by and create in turn the physical world.

Different physical environments favor the propagation of different kinds of ideas.

Part 2: Aliens Within

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