25 November 2011

The earth hath bubbles, as the water has...

At first sight...a simple [autogenic] molecular system doesn't appear to have much to do with the emergence of function, or value, much less consciousness. But upon closer examination, these teleological-like properties turn out to ultimately depend on some variant of the self-referential circularity of this sort of formative process. This is because the causal circularity between these interdependent, self-organised molecular processes creates an unambiguous site of "self": its intrinsic capacity for self-creation constitutes a precise self/non-self distinction which is independent of any specific material embodiment. And it is this "self" that most needs to be explained before we can even begin to consider the nature of consciousness.
-- Terrence Deacon, who argues that both the origins of life and the origins of consciousness depend on the emergence of self: the organisational core of both is a form of self-creating, self-sustaining, constraint-generating process.

(Image: Paramount Bridge by Alan E Taylor 'You could walk right over this bridge without realising that it is there.')

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