Adonis Diaries

Archive for December 27th, 2009

Cognitive mechanisms; (Dec. 26, 2009)

Before venturing into this uncharted territory let me state that there is a “real universe” that each one perceives differently: if this real world didn’t exist then there would be nothing to perceive. The real world cares less about the notions of time and space. No matter how we rationalize about the real world our system of comprehension is strictly linked to our brain/senses systems of perceptions. The way animals perceive the universe is different than our perception.  All we can offer are bundles of hypotheses that can never be demonstrated or confirmed even empirically. The best we can do is to extend the hypothesis that our perceived universe correlates (qualitative coherent resemblance) with the real universe. The notions of time, space, and causality are within our perceived universe.  Each individual has his own “coherent universe” that is as valid as any other perception. What rational logic and empirical experiments have discovered in “laws of nature” apply only to our perceived universe; mainly to what is conveniently labeled the category of grown up “normal people” who do not suffer major brain disturbances or defects.

Man uses symbols such as language, alphabets, mathematical forms, and musical symbols to record their cognitive performances. Brain uses “binary code” of impressions and intervals of non impressions to register a codified impression.  Most probably, the brain creates all kinds of cells and chemicals to categorize, store, classify, and retrieve various impressions; the rational is that since no matter how fast an impression is it stands to reason that the trillions and trillions of impressions would saturate the intervals between sensations in no time.

We are born with 25% of the total number of synapses that grown up will form.  Neurons have mechanisms of transferring from one section of the brain to other parts when frequent focused cognitive processes are needed. A child can perceive one event following another one but it has no further meaning but simple observation.  A child is not surprised with magic outcomes; what is out of the normal for a grown up is as valid a phenomenon as another to him (elephant can fly). We know that vision and auditory sensations pass through several filters (processed data) before being perceived by the brain.  The senses of smell and taste circumvent filters and are sensed by the limbic (primeval brain) before passing this data to cognition.

The brain attaches markers or attributes to impressions that it receives.  Four markers that I call exogenous markers attach to impressions as they are “registered” or perceived in the brain coming from the outside world through our senses.  At least four other markers, I label “endogenous markers” are attached to internal cognitive processing and are attached to information when re-structuring or re-configurations are performed during the dream periods: massive computations are needed to stored data before they are transformed to other ready useful data before endogenous markers are attributed to them for registering in other memory banks. There are markers that I call “reverse-exogenous” and are attached to information meant to be exported from the brain to the outside world. They are mainly of two kinds: body language information (such as head, hand, shoulder, or eye movements) and the recorded types on external means such as writing, painting, sculpting, singing, playing instruments, or performing art work.

The first exogenous marker directs impressions from the senses in their order of successions. The child recognizes that this event followed the other one within a short period of occurrence. His brain can “implicitly” store the two events are following in succession in a qualitative order (for example the duration of the succession is shorter or longer than the other succession). I label this marker as “Time recognizer” in the qualitative meaning of sensations.

The second marker registers and then stores an impression as a spatial configuration. At this stage, the child is able to recognize the concept of space but in a qualitative order; for example, this object is closer or further from the other object. I call this marker “space recognizer”.

The third marker is the ability to delimit a space when focusing on a collection of objects. Without this ability to first limit the range of observation (or sensing in general) it would be hard to register parts and bits of impressions within a first cut of a “coherent universe”. I label this marker “spatial delimiter”

The fourth marker attaches “strength” or “weight” of occurrence as the impression is recognized in the database.  The child cannot count but the brain is already using this marker for incoming information. In a sense, the brain is assembling events and objects in special “frequency of occurrence” database during dream periods and the information are retrieved in qualitative order of strength of sensations in frequency.  I call this attribute “count marker”.

The fifth marker is an endogenous attributes: this marker is attached within the internal export/import of information in the brain. This attribute is a kind of “correlation” quantity that indicates same/different trends of behavior of events or objects.  In a sense, this marker will internally sort out data as “analogous” or contrary collections along a time scale. People have tendency to associate correlation with cause and effect relation but it is not. A correlation quantity can be positive (two variables have the same behavioral trend in a system) or negative quantity (diverging trends). With the emergence of the 5th marker the brain has grown a quantitative threshold in synapses and neurons to starting massive computations on impressions stored in the large original database or what is called “long-term memory”.

The sixth marker is kind of a “probability quantity” that permits the brain to order objects according to “plausible” invariant properties in space (for example objects or figures are similar according to a particular property, including symmetrical transformations). I label this the “invariant marker” and it re-structures collections of objects and shapes in structures such as hereditary, hierarchical, network, or circular.

The seventh marker I call the “association attribute”. Methods of deduction, inductions, and other logical manipulations are within these kinds of data types.  They are mostly generated from rhetorical associations such as analogies, metaphors, antonyms, and other categories of associations. No intuition or creative ideas are outside the boundary of prior recognition of the brain.  Constant focus and work on a concept generate complex processing during the dream stage. The conscious mind recaptures sequences from the dream state and most of the time unconsciously. What knowledge does is decoding in formal systems the basic processes of the brain and then re-ordering what seems as chaotic firing in brain cells.  Symbols were created to facilitate rules writing for precise rationalization.

The eighth marker I call the “design marker”; it recognizes interactions among variables and interacts with reverse exogenous markers since a flow with outside perceptions is required for comprehension. Simple perceived relationships between two events or variables are usually trivial and mostly wrong; for example thunder follows lightning and thus wrongly interpreted as lightning generates thunder.  Simple interactions are of the existential kind as in the Pavlov reactions where existential rewards, such as food, are involved in order to generate the desired reactions. The Pavlov reaction laws apply to man too. Interactions among more than two variables are complex for interpretations in the mind and require plenty of training and exercises.  Designing experiments is a very complex cognitive task and not amenable to intuition: it requires learning and training to appreciating the various cause and effects among the variables.

The first kinds of “reverse exogenous” markers can be readily witnessed in animals such as in body language of head, hand, shoulder, or eye movements; otherwise Pavlov experiments could not be conducted if animals didn’t react with any external signs. In general, rational thinking retrieves data from specialized databases “cognitive working memory” of already processed data and saved for pragmatic utility. Working memories are developed once data find outlets to the external world for recording; thus, pure thinking without attempting to record ideas degrades the cognitive processes with sterile internal transfer without new empirical information to compute in.

An important reverse-exogenous marker is sitting still, concentrating, emptying our mind of external sensations, and relaxing the mind of conscious efforts of perceiving the knowledge “matter” in order to experience the “cosmic universe”.

This article was not meant to analyze emotions or value moral systems.  It is very probable that the previously described markers are valid for the moral value systems with less computation applied to the data transferred to the “moral working memory”. I believe that more other sophisticated computations are performed than done to emotional data since a system is constructed for frequent “refreshing” with age and experiences.

I conjecture that emotions are generated from the vast original database and the endogenous correlation marker is the main computation method: the reason is that emotions are related to complex and almost infinite interactions with people and community; thus, the brain prefers not to consume time and resources on complex computations that involve many thousands of variables interacting simultaneously. Thus, an emotional reaction in the waking period is not necessarily “rational” but of the quick and dirty resolutions kinds. In the dream sessions, emotionally loaded impressions are barely processed because they are hidden deep in the vast original database structure and are not refreshed frequently to be exposed to the waking conscious cognitive processes; thus, they flare up within the emotional reaction packages.

Note: The brain is a flexible organic matter that can be trained and developed by frequent “refreshing” of interactions with the outside world of sensations. Maybe animals lack the reverse exogenous markers to record their cognitive capabilities; more likely, it is because their cognitive working memory is shriveled that animals didn’t grow the appropriate limbs for recording sensations: evolution didn’t endow them with external performing limbs for writing, sculpting, painting, or doing music. The fact that chimps were trained to externalize cognition as valid as 5 years old capabilities suggest that attaching artificial limbs to chimps, cats, or dogs that are compatible with human tools will demonstrate that chimps can give far better cognitive performance than expected.

This is a first draft to get the project going. I appreciate developed comments and references.

593.  ICT: Transmitter of crisis and catalyst of global economic restructuring; (Dec. 19, 2009)

594.  First “mathematical” philosopher: Descartes; (Dec. 20, 2009)

595.  Idiosyncrasy in “conjectures”; (Dec. 21, 2009)

596.  Cases of “Historical Dialectics” of human and knowledge development; (Dec. 23, 2009)

597.  How causality relation and invariant are perceived by the brain; (Dec. 24, 2009)

598.  Color of your money; (Dec. 25, 2009)

Color of your money; (Dec. 25, 2009)

Consider a settled community. Suppose that in the beginning each extended family has its own water source, its lot to grow food, its chicken, a goat or cow for milk. For a time, this extended family is sufficient; it might not occasionally eat its fill but it does not suffer of famine or existential danger. Due to calamities in weather, disease, or family problems then productivity for survival is at risk. The slack periods of labor, during winter season for example, has encouraged the extended family to becoming proficient in specific economic practices.

One group of families opts for artisanal productions (such as clothing, pottery, woodworking, metal tools, stonework…) and it trained a few of the members to that kind of non perishable products. Another group of families goes into raising cattle; a third group goes for agriculture of grain based or fruit products. Question: which group of families has potentially the upper hand economically within the community?  Maybe the cattle raisers can existentially survive better and exchange or barter better their products with other kinds of merchandizes. Most probably, goat, cows, or sheep might become the basic common “currency” for exchanges during community market days, events, marriages, and daily routines. The cattle families grow richer in worth especially that they are producing existential needs.

Calamities strike the community and raising cattle is no longer profitable. Suppose that artisans supplant other extended families in economical exchanges and cloth, tools for productions, or other artworks become the basic currency for bartering. It stands to reason that an artisanal product cannot be counterfeited easily because it requires years of training. Communities aid families in time of distress for a short time but customs require that help be returned, for example in labor work.

Life is not that predictable; after trying dominance of one group of families over other extended families then alliances emerge among families. A chief is selected from the allied families; the chief main worry is to establishing stability and good working relationships in the community. A trading and unifying “currency”, agreeable to the alliance, is accepted by the community. Most probably major warehouses for various products are instituted by the chief and his powerful alliance of families. The chiefs learn to consider a currency that is more effective and easier to handle than actual bartering. Soon, metal coins are manufactured: they are not easily counterfeited because they require skills and much training. By the by, rare metals are considered and monopoly for the rare metals is concentrated in the hand of the chief’s entourage. Gradually, political systems learn that a currency has to enjoy properties such as being small to handle, having intrinsic value, rare, and difficult to counterfeit. Families not designated to manufacture the currencies will have to invest large capitals for acquiring the raw material and the skills. Police force is established to guard the warehouses and to apprehend counterfeiters and then hang them. The effigy of the chief is stamped on the coins.

A new class of families emerges (the bankers) that specifically manufacture the coins and distribute them to “oil” the economy.      Conflicts of economic supremacy among groups of “professionals” are frequent and these conflicts turn political by mechanism of alliance of interests. When the political system changes, then the rules of the game change by exercising “preferential” treatments to the alliance. The victor will inherit the warehouses and a new currency is coined to the advantage of the alliance. Other community chiefs might counterfeit the “enemy’s” currency with lower quantity of gold or silver for profit and for discrediting the enemy chief. In general, pride along with the dissemination of perception that the enemy is expanding economically on territory forces the counterfeiting chief to “recall” the counterfeited currency.

The colonies in the US before independence experienced economic expansions while England was having hard times. Benjamin Franklin, Ambassador to France after the US independence, let out the secret: Economic expansion was related to the colonies enjoying the right to “printing” currency when the economy needed this “oiling” mechanism. England then convinced the U, after its independence, to have the monopoly of issuing money; the Rothschild family endeavored to ruin the US economic expansion by refraining from distributing needed currencies. The dollar received a higher value than being simply an oiling mechanism: the dollar was overvalued and the economy shrank. After the civil war of secession two powers got in conflict: the bullion gold group and the “Green buck” who rightly considered the bullion currency as undemocratic and favoring the northern States who horded most of the gold.

This concept of money as simply lubricating mechanism continued to be adopted by economists since Adam Smith: economists set the money aside as an economic factor of interest and analyzed the economy as a barter exchange of good that was no longer valid.  Money is an entire social fact; it is a language and an institution (a set of rules, regulations guaranteed by political power that should be accepted as legitimate); money reflects the tag of war among classes in times of financial crisis: money has not the same value and meaning for the poor and the rich. The rich classes have the connections and political cloud to efficiently utilize and fructify their worth in money. Money is indeed unequally distributed and has become a cultural capital that divides communities.

What happens when a currency with intrinsic value is substituted with paper money or banknotes? What kind of confidence the community members enjoy to resume exchanging good products with just papers or fiduciary banknotes?  What happens when citizens are forbidden to exchange this fiduciary paper with gold put in reserves to guarantee their worth?

Question: “how this currency is guaranteed to be accepted by the entire community for smooth exchange of merchandizes?” There are three levels of confidence required for times of financial crisis. First with have the “methodical confidence”; a check worth $100 from one national bank should be exchanged with $100 at another national bank; the institution of “independent” National Banks guarantee this kind of confidence when one bank goes bankrupt. The second kind of confidence is “hierarchical confidence”. In times of financial crisis there are hierarchical structures to quick “arbitration mechanisms” among financial institutions based on rules, laws, and regulations. The third kind of confidence is the “ethical confidence”. The political power in charge of supervising money distribution makes decisions that are never neutral economically and socially. If legitimacy of the authority is lacking due to ethnic or religious conflicts with a State, then ethical confidence is perturbed. It is the conformity to a system of values that is the last barrier against monetary crisis. This is what happened in Argentina, especially when Argentina tied its currency to the overvalued US dollar and thus Argentina lost its independence of issuing money relative to the internal trading expansion.

It is inevitable that globalization will institute two kinds of currencies; one currency meant for the little people and “derivatives” for the big players. The traditional monetary system for the little people will adopt an international banknote based on a basket of rare metals, critical industrial raw material metals, and other existential products. This currency would actually function as a redistribution mechanism of accumulated currency reserves from States to other needy States in currency. The little people currency would be transferred as fiscal exchange among federated states.

The “derivative” currency (future, forward, and option) will be established after international institutions guarantee the three kinds of confidence for derivative exchanges and stop being a competition among enemies.




December 2009

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