Tag Archives: Communication

Is there an objective basis for morality?

Core Values

The short answer is no.

Constructive and destructive is a more accurate way to measure the value of relationship behaviors. Nature measures values on this standard. Moralistic lenses falsely frame values as either good or bad. Nature values things that nourish and defend coherence. Good and bad is irrelevant. Moral lenses can blind us from seeing nature’s relationship economy which we need to navigate effectively.

Relationships bound together as an interdependent network that acts to self nourish and-or defend itself against antagonists is the principle property of coherent structures. Nature is not focused on morals. It is focused on constructive relationships – that nourish and-or defend integrity. Sufficient constructive and-or defensive properties are the engine that defines coherent structures in nature.

Using a constructive-destructive lens renders the world in terms of how relationship behaviors apply to systems. Biological organisms are an example of a coherent system. Infused in our form are object properties that can have both constructive and destructive aspects and change based on context. As an example; we hunger and thirst (which are constructive activities) and our immune system and reflexes, etc. act to defend us against perceived antagonists. This relationship economy is the cost of coherence and is what defines our nature. They are the same thing.

Out of this basic nourish and defend coherence matrix we can see many variant relationship forms. An object’s properties can relate constructively or destructively toward a single system or to all systems within a specified set. They can also be a mixed bag between and within structures. A constructive-destructive lens allows us to see the multiple relationship values as they coexist in all their glorious ambiguity. Each object property is either-or constructive or destructive relative to the necessities of coherence for a given system or systems in a given context. The expression of this relationship economy defines what “is”.

Morality, as we conceptualize it, does not stem from an objective source – it is more a symptomatic expression of our local necessities as we conceive them at a given moment in time. There is no one standard by which to measure “right” and “wrong”. Our perception fluctuates depending on our cultural and environmental experience. This is why concepts of morality fluctuate with things like experience, quirks of biology, culture, and geography.

Nature’s relationship economy is based on a currency of coherency. Relationships that more effectively support coherence in the context of the environment are valued over those less suited to the task. This is the essence of the behavior properties we see expressed through coherent objects. It is also how increasingly coherent objects emerge from relationship fields characterized by less coherent bonds. In effect; nature is a continuous selection process developing ever greater forms of order. Whatever expresses greater coherence value in the context of a variable environment is selected. We are living expressions of this continuous call to order over time.

As a result of nature’s pull toward greater coherence, sophisticated relationship networks emerge that express complex interdependent “nourish and defend” properties. What we experience as our senses and our various biological drives are oriented around this theme. We are structured as stratified layers of behaviors with rigid less flexible, more rigidly embedded behavior expressions at the core and increasingly flexible more adaptable layers toward the surface. The rigid bone structure and the automatic portions of our biological metabolism along with reflexes, instincts and the ability to harness our flesh to navigate certain novel environments coexist together. These object properties operate under a unified banner of things that serve to withstand and navigate the variables of the environment while remaining coherent.

The word morality as we typically use it represents an abstract map of the history of our local necessities. It is related to what we needed to service coherence along with a mix of things find familiar and comforting. We might say eating a certain thing is moral because we needed to eat the thing to survive. We might find another culture that eats things immoral because the practice in unfamiliar to us, or would have been counterproductive in our ancestor’s local context. The variable biological algorithms forged into our species by the necessities of coherence in the context of local environments over time produce the local behavioral necessities. We later rationalize this collection of necessities along with the habitual tailwinds of things once necessary into a moral map. In other words, morality is a symptom of things that happened. Morality is not based on a singular objective standard. This is why different cultures have different moral standards. This rationalization of the necessary and the familiar is what we typically conjure up as our map of “morality”. It is an abstract map that is an afterthought to what we already embody as complex dynamic adaptable coherent objects in nature’s broader environmental context.

As biological creatures, we are structures built by adaptive necessity with a core of less flexible behavioral necessities and increasingly flexible layers toward the surface of our “being”. Our need to eat and drink are examples of these core necessities – these acts of service necessary to remain coherent – require us to behave in specific ways. These necessities of “being” gives rise to a core set of ritual behavior patterns. Our senses and behaviors are essentially tuned acts in service to the necessities of being. We express these acts of service to necessity in many behavioral forms.

As early humans when we were more naked and intimate with the environment we hunted and gathered. We harnessed fire and began cooking. This technology to expand our nutrition sources. Later we began farming and cultivating food. This led to the necessity of defending land and water sources and we later developed notions of property and boundaries laws and governments. Our abstract architecture tracked with the necessities of being. As we continued to renegotiate our place in the context of nature, our moral maps and world view shifted to reflect these changes as well.

We tend to see our necessary acts of service to coherence and the accumulated traditions that this devotion to necessity entails as our birthright. We build our abstract moral framework around these necessities. Morality is more an extension of the necessities of coherence – the biological instruments, music notes and melodies on which the orchestra of our organism’s coherence is built.

We also see the localized necessities of coherence that were forged by the relationship between the currents of community on which we were carried into existence and the environment in which those communities related in a low-resolution map form. Our world view is based on this deeper narrative that is unable to be captured in full resolution. Over time we developed the local social rules by which we now use as the means to accept and-or reject people, behaviors, and things in a community context. Our rationalizations about what is acceptable or not shift with environmental necessities over time. This moral map is another example of nested adaptive layers – these things we accumulate that are useful to navigate the necessities of being. As coherent structures, we are wired to value remaining coherent in the context of the variables of the environment. If this were not so, we would not exist.

As coherent structures, we cannot help but have a nature that is tuned to find nourishment sources and defend our form – a survival instinct. This adaptive process includes moral rationalizations to cope with making rituals and justifying the necessities of being. Our biological drives are built on an economy of coherence and our thought processes are an extension of this. This is why as a species we justify dismantling and eating animals and plants. It is a necessary part of nourishing our form. We rationalize it as our place. We see it as our right when it is, in reality, a necessity of being. Our perception does not stem from an objective set of morals. It is a variable response caused by the necessities of relating to the idiosyncrasies of our developmental environment over time. We are not unique in this respect. Every creature, indeed every object is a reflection of these necessary properties of coherence. Each object can nourish and-or defend coherence. This is the universal theme embedded in all coherent structures. It is the essence of “being”.

Where is the Meaning of Life Located?

What Is The Meaning of Life

As far as I can tell, things like rights, beauty, love, money, and all our notions of gods, good, evil and so on, are the various subjects (stories) we derive from the common object of (nature). We make maps as symbolic descriptions of nature as a territory, then use the maps as a means to perceive the meaning of the relationships between objects. In other words; nature is objects in relationship with each other, but these relationship processes also convey meaning – the same way the relationship between letters and words or sounds convey meaning.

Nature is the base line grammatical engine on which all meaning (language) is built. It is also a language in and of itself. The same way many verbal languages can emerge from a grammatical foundation like a limited set of syllabic sounds, we form our various maps of nature based on the context of the heritage of our experience communicated through our various local environments over time. Objects in relationship with each other over time is the essence of story as far as I can tell. We can not have one (subject) without the other (object). The need for a relationship between two or more entities in order for the birth of meaning to take place is perhaps the archetype of what we frame as male-female – yin-yang mother-child and so on. This meaningful aspect of nature we map out in our myths and also describe as process through our scientific lens is built on this universal grammar.

As meaning generators ourselves, we reflect the nature of nature, despite our occasional delusion that we are independent of the whole. This should perhaps come as no surprise even though it appears to for many of us. Specific order conveys coherent meanings, and to the degree we are ordered, we also convey coherent meaning. Nature conveys story through objects in relationship with each other over time and we interpret this objective dynamic process as subject.

The null hypothesis is a statistical test that suggests there’s no significant difference between specified populations or sets of things; that any observed differences are due to sampling or experimental error. It says we see things as an artifact of how we categorize them. Any truth that can be derived from any “object” in nature depends on that object’s relationship to other objects, even if that other object is the whole of nature. We examine facets – pieces- subsets of nature – that we classify by category, and out of that perception of object in relationship to other object we find meaning. The fact that we must divide nature in order for any facets of meaningful difference to emerge points to the fact that a relationship between two or more objects is necessary for meaning to exist at all. Without the relationship between two or more objects there is no “word” no meaning.

The fact that our organs operate as a community of objects that act to nourish and defend each other’s coherency is more than a process, it is a meaningful story of how coherent structures sustain themselves; whether we decode that message plainly by way of our abstract maps or not does not dismiss the fact it conveys meaning. The fact that we are not fulfilled as mature beings unless we find a way to contribute meaningfully in the context of the community we live in and depend on for life is rooted in the fact that we are unable to act against our nature as mature adults – with excessive selfish intent, taking from our community without giving back something that generates greater value in return – and also be satisfied. The fact that we become depressed when we’re not participating in something larger than ourselves is a statement by nature through our native drives that we hunger for meaning – for a larger coherency. We are simply not wired to be satisfied this without meaningful connections to a greater whole. These aspects of a satisfied life and unsatisfied life is clearly mapped in our biology, but also through the mythic story of Cain and Abel; where one was satisfied by giving his best, and the other was not due to doing the minimal. Are these people literally true? Maybe, maybe not, but they are metaphorically sound with the message conveyed through objective nature about who we are and what constitutes a pathway to a satisfied life. To deny this seems to me as incoherent as to deny gravity.

Our cultural myths (stories) throughout time and place are symbolic maps of the world and the cosmos. We use them to craft an image of our place in the context of this larger environmental womb of nature – as a way to reflect our understanding of this “almighty” womb of nature we’re in – that forms us of the dust of the Earth – that gave birth to all things – that nourishes and feeds us and will yield its strength if we cultivate fruitful outcomes, which are rendered through specific nourishing and protective actions along with a certain level of sacrifice and so on over time. This nature, to which we must sacrifice to in order to cultivate a more abundant life speaks of itself in and through the way objects relate to each other. These cultural myths we have formed over the years have embedded within them things like our objective need for a relationship with each other and our world because of how we have been defined (created) by this thing – this greater being; nature.

The fact that we need to tend this garden of living fire with enough intentional cultivation to sustain our collective body, our species, or there will be consequences is conveyed through the process. Our origins, and a projection of our destiny based on how we negotiate in the context of this relationship economy is also conveyed through the process. These subjective words we stitch together as symbolic maps of the territory are not mere descriptions of process alone, they also convey meaningful concepts. We make symbolic tokens that can stand for the territory we are in – this economy of “being”. These maps are how we negotiate our relationship with self other and the world whether we couch it in terms of governments and constitutions and laws, or in the form of mythic stories.

Along with being defined by nature, our maps can also define how we experience “being”. The same way nature creates by way of object within certain boundaries, we can create by way of subject. While I would agree the map is not the territory, and that the claims of literal truth made by certain religions could be argued as objectively untrue or unprovable, we simply cannot know from our perspective, which is why these things are the domain of faith, at the same time, money is not money unless we agree it is money. We shape our experience in objectively true ways through concepts – through meaning. Meanings themselves can take on the form of objects in relation to one another and create a nested architecture of meaning. The same way each language has it’s own word for stone, yet there is only one objective stone to which all these various concepts point, each mythos subject attempts to encapsulate the properties of nature in abstract terms. Each has a a unique map that conceptualized the same source – nature, which is both object and subject.

To suggest that anything not tied to a description of process, which is the domain of science, is valueless and incoherent misses the point as much as claiming subjective truths are objectively true. We can get lost in our maps by mistaking them for objects, but we can also get lost in process by mistaking that for subject, when it is the inseparable relationship between the two that defines what we experience as “being”. We can be the authors of our own poverty, or cultivators of our grandest success depending on how we relate to each other – how we participate in subject making process.

We generate meaning by the way we relate to each other. We also have the opportunity to generate more abundant meaning by how coherently we relate – how much we nourish and protect each other and the common body of life we depend on to sustain us as a single meaningful coherent whole in service of a greater whole. This nested architecture of meaning conveyed through the process of nature is a meaningful guide to a meaningful life if we have the ears to hear the message. Whether we understand it or not, the meaning is clearly conveyed: that objects in relationship with each other over time is the essence of how we experience every story, including our own.

I could be missing something(s)


Exploring the Origins of our Social Nature

When we are in a stadium or a packed movie house experiencing something on the edge, do we feed on the mindset of the crowd? Do we lose our sense of individuality and become part of the group body? Can cultures incentivise the adoption of ideas; not because the ideas themselves are valid, but because they act as symbolic markers of inclusion? Do these ideas become the de facto currency of social inclusion, something we tend to adopt because we are biologically wired to seek inclusion as a primary drive?

Could this be how intense stress can act to spawn populist movements with fierce devotees that tend to act on more narrow and non nuanced principles? Could this natural tendency toward a desire for coherence make us convinced of an idea, not because of its validity, but because of our need to belong to a group for protection, especially under perceived stress? Is this what happens on differing scales of intensity as a function of our social nature?

Is this holding of ideas as a means of ritual expressions that cement social bonds something we may do without being consciously aware? Is it possible we are not in touch with because we’re lost in our own little words while actually being carried on biological currents that are far deeper and powerful?

This article might reveal a clue of the origins of this type of behavior we see at many levels:

𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗹𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝗺𝗼𝗹𝗱 𝗴𝗲𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗿𝗴𝗮𝗻𝗶𝘇𝗲𝗱

“… a unicellular organism that may transition into a multicellular organism under stress, has just been found to have a tissue structure that was previously thought to exist only in more sophisticated animals. What’s more, two proteins that are needed by the slime mold to form this structure are similar to those that perform the same function in more sophistical animals.”


The Art of Communication Has A Long Tradition

Collections of cells working together as a unified body, producing specialized behaviors that lend adaptive advantage on a group scale which include some sacrificial acts that benefit that larger community is not unique to complex multicellular organisms like ourselves. It is more of a relationship theme that that has been threaded into biology long before multicellularity as we know it emerged. It involves perceiving necessities, and communicating these necessities across a biological domain so that effective behavioral responses can take place. This community principle, complete with communication across a wide biological landscape has been present, and conserved throughout our biological history – a unified purpose among different biological entities that arose out of necessity long before multicellular (metazoic) creatures emerged. Here is an example of how this takes place among microbes:

How Microbes Communicate Over Long Distances

“…Percolation is familiar to anyone who brews coffee, and it helped researchers at the University of California San Diego understand how bacteria communicate with one another over long distances. Communities of bacteria, sometimes called biofilms, aren’t just a clump of bacterial cells. It seems they can send signals to one another with ion channels, promoting the survival of the community and protecting it from attacks. New findings on that communication have been reported in Cell Systems.”


Link to full article:


The Ties that Bind Us

There are any number of relationships, which transcend species lines, that are nonetheless vital for the proper functioning of the individual organisms within that biological relational field. These groups of organisms, or sometimes specific processes within these organisms, can form obligate (necessary) bonds that have the same characteristics as the relationships between the collection of vital organs in a singular body.
The relationships that define the integrity and continuing function of any single organism extends far beyond that singular organism’s membrane. Each organism exists by way of an extended network of mutually nourishing and defensive relationships that collectively nourish and defend the integrity of that community. This relational lens is far more useful to see the foundational principles of biology than is a reductionist, organism-centric lens.
The same community principle is what defines the strength and integrity of any complex adaptive system from a single cell, to organ, to the larger relationship economy we see expressed through ecosystems is also true of interpersonal relationships, families, groups, society and civilization itself. This is the underlying message communicated through the processes that define the biological economy – that forging mutualistic nourishing bonds, and by extension, a common defense, defines the level of adaptation any complex adaptive system will have to negotiate the environment.
Here is an example of one such inter-species relational bond that illustrates the type of bond that nourishes and protects a body of life, the same way organs in a multicellular creature relate to each other:
𝗡𝗲𝘄 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁𝗼𝗿 𝗶𝗻𝘃𝗼𝗹𝘃𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝘀𝘆𝗺𝗯𝗶𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘀 𝗯𝗲𝘁𝘄𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝗹𝗲𝗴𝘂𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗿𝗼𝗴𝗲𝗻-𝗳𝗶𝘅𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗿𝗵𝗶𝘇𝗼𝗯𝗶𝗮 𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗲𝗱

The Biological Community Defines Our Experience of Life

If we unpack the implications of the fact that a single celled parasite like Toxoplasma gondii can develop a strategy to modify mammalian neurophysiology and behaviors to suit its own biological ends, we can begin to appreciate the fact that the community of friends and foes in our local biological relationship field set the tone for what we experience as life.

There is a full spectrum of relationships that is possible in any given biological community that can span the spectrum from obligate (necessary) mutualism to parasitic and predatory relationship dynamics where seizing the fruit produced by other organisms is the core behavioral property of the organism.

Depending on the biological community’s bias toward cooperation involving mutual nourishment and common defense, or toward parasitic and predatory relational dynamics, the organism based community will tend toward homeostasis (balance), or instability. This makes whether or not we learn about, and act to appropriately tend the many organisms from which our local biology is composed is a key factor in whether balance or imbalance (health or disease) will happen. It also plays a key role in defining our identity and shaping experience of life. This makes understanding and cultivating the biological relational system we are part of a critical factor in effectively steering our experience of life.

Here is an article outlining how a number of parasitic and predatory organisms press their agenda within the larger biological community. It is important to remember that there is a full spectrum of relationship possibilities, some of which bring nourishment, strength and health or defense of the integrity of the system against disruptive agents.


Nature Echoes Nourish and Defend Behaviors on Many Scales

When our immune system sees a pathogen, something it perceives as harmful, it establishes ways to effectively neutralize or destroy that destructive agent. In doing this, it uses weapons (destructive agents), and vectors (vehicles) to carry the weapons it uses in defend to their appropriate location.

On a broader scale, this same defense of integrity through an “immune response strategy” may be what is going on at a larger scale in biological ecosystems. Since nature establishes defenses (things which destroy perceived pathogens) by establishing defensive weapons and looking for vectors to carry these destructive agents to their appropriate location in order to effect the “immune response”, why would we not expect to see this happening on different scales, from cell to body, to larger bodies of life?

The only difference in this relational dynamic that happens in a cell or single multicellular organisms that also may be happening in ecosystems may be the scale. This “immune response” may be also happening between larger bodies of life – bodies of life which transcend single organisms, and are constructed of networked metabolic structures that are stitched together through a vast array of species and subsystems within species – bodies of life that, although composed of many kinds of organisms, have a need to nourish itself, as well as protective skins and other defenses to protect itself, in addition to porous biological boundaries, the same way an individual cell or a larger organism does.

These larger bodies of life, which sometimes clash as a result of the existential debt nature demands for any coherent biological body – to nourish and protect itself, and to mount defenses against antagonists to that coherency. This may be the legend of the map that defines relationship landscape we see in biological ecosystems. It may also explain why, when there is less need for these defensive weapons to be carried to and fro to perceived pathogens in these larger bodies of life, that we also see these vectors less populated with these transgenic weapons, as we see in the case of mosquitoes in the rain forest, which tend to be less populated with the weapons of defense. Just a thought…

Disease-carrying mosquitoes rare in undisturbed tropical forests

From the article: “We found that fewer mosquito species known to carry disease-causing pathogens live in forested areas compared to disturbed ones… Mosquito species from altered forest sites are more likely to transmit disease than mosquitoes native to an area of mature tropical forest.”

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-08-disease-carrying-mosquitoes-rare-undisturbed-tropical.html

Powerful Influence from Small Changes

While this article is on *Brain Inflammation and Obesity* specifically, there seems to be a number of deeper implications if we apply a wide angle lens to the fact that certain infections, or microbiome populations, or traumas, etc. in the context of our complex biological system can shift behavioral expressions on more than physical scales. This influence on our relational landscape has a powerful influence on our experience of life. Extrapolated further we might begin to get a glimpse of how our evolution, history, culture and sense of identity might all be far more nebulous and arbitrary than we are used to believing.


The Language of Biology

Biology is a complex relational economy that produces coherent “meaning” in the form of structures and ongoing relationships that are aimed at specific goal oriented ends. Like verbal language and its capacity to produce the more complicated structures that are possible within its range of expression, like comedy or drama for instance, to accomplish the communication effectively requires certain contexts in order for them to work as intended. We see this same communication requirement in biology. Here’s an example of how that opportunity for a complex communication to convey something constructive or restorative can be destroyed by context:


The Strategy Employed by Nature to get Things Done

When it comes to accomplishing tasks in the face of various forms of adversity and an environment that would need to be cultivated or persuaded to move toward a specific goal, one way of breaking down the various strategies that are possible to do this is a concept called destinationist. A destinationist strategy accepts that the current state of affairs is not desirable and that change is necessary, but rather than being a determinist, where the strategy appears to be “all or none”, where arms are flapped or folded folded and scowls are formed and baying at the moon over the current circumstances – how wrong everybody is and how the world is not right is the de facto strategy, the destinationist uses a strategy which accepts the reality of the current landscape, and attempts to move in the correct direction using realistic doable steps, perhaps not knowing if full success is possible or warranted. Nature appears to have this destinationist philosophy as it attempts to do things to move in a certain direction, even though the current solution may not be perfect. One example it the following: “while having diarrhoea might be a nightmare, not having it could be an even worse fate.”

Here is an article detailing how the body uses a destinationist strategy to deal with stomach issues that comes with some pain, but is best given the overall picture.