Tuesday, September 21, 2010

To Thine Own Selves Be True Or Not To Be

OK, I'm going to run the following up the flagpole with no warning, explanation, introduction or excuse:

With regard to the enigma posed by our capacity for self-deception, the first key to the puzzle is the fact that in virtually all human cultures, deception connotes dishonesty, and dishonesty is fundamentally immoral.

A further key to be considered is that along with many animals, we humans have several higher level assessment systems, or selves, that communicate with each other, but are essentially unable to monitor the apposing assessment operations. Hence their machinations, if and when, have been de facto concealed.

And, as to the self appearing to deceive another self, immorality, as humans see it, would not have been a factor - nor become a hindrance to the evolution of our biologically deceptive functions. Primarily because these now inherent calculative strategies have been derived from largely successful results of various species' past experiences, where consequences were less dependent on the "truth" or purity of the data than on its relevance to the tactics that best addressed the problems. And this stratagem is not so much about the invention of new data (although if need be that will happen) as the determination of that relevance by what seems to fit the situation, and the selective exclusion of what seems not to. So that in the end, the functional segments from which the accuracy of some data will be effectively concealed have almost from the start "agreed" to the arrangement.

Thus despite what we instinctively tend to feel, deception has no moral implications in that dynamic. A "self" will be deceived, but not be lied to. Because it "trusts" the deceiving self to do, or to have done, the manipulation of the data for their mutual benefit. This inducive self is not there to determine "truth" for it's own sake, but to discern whatever elements of probabilistic fact will make the system work.
(Example - to alleviate the paroxysm of fear sparked by the emotional self, the more motivated rational self will consciously select out data to reassess the probabilities of success, until everyone involved feels happy with the arrangement, and their new vision of the eventual consequences - the accuracy of which needs only in the end to be approximate.)

But then the argument will be, if the self in question knows it's being "deceived," that's really not deception - because there won't be any need or reason to accept the accuracy of the input, which had been the only purpose of the exercise. The answer is, in my view, that the "agreement" the systems have with each other calls for the manipulative act to happen when the deceiver determines it's supposed to, so that the self it happens to won't know this in advance or want to know it. Obviously it's a malleable arrangement and not all that cut and dried, as there's certainly more overt and suspicious manipulation going on within the systems, but which will largely involve the efficacy of the strategic process, rather than a question of the "motives" of the parties.

All this a lot like the "white lies" arrangements that we have with one another in most if not all human societies.

And is it this inherent inability of our internal systems to monitor and direct their operations without any form of moral compass that's led to consequences of self-deception that are self-destructive? Especially so, the more this evolutionarily cobbled system seems to evolve itself - or the more "human" we animals have become?
And have the moral strictures within our various cultures had to evolve accordingly to counter this very problem - to deal with the weakness externally that we can't overcome internally?
And how successful will such strictures ever be, when so far we've treated this as a problem generated by some fantastical external forces, i.e., good and evil, rather than by our self-concealed internal machinery? (Or machinationry if I may coin the term?)

Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Everything Is Always Next

The progressive nature of the universe is self-determinate, not determinate as in the predetermined.

Causes must determine effects in a consistent fashion by virtue of our universe's laws because of the intrinsic logic that we've found these laws to represent.

Such progression is what we've come to call intelligent. In other words, it seems the universe has organized itself in ways that have allowed it to determine it own future - and to do so with predictable consistency.

And these determinations are seen as consequential in an ongoing series of immediate results which are themselves determinative in their turn. No certainty of the predeterminate will be had or needed.

It's this consistency that will give us our expected future with its elements of probability and meaning.

Because all our laws, as far as we're now able to determine, are laws of probability. Not laws from some lawgiver that actuate the certainty of some immutable and ultimately meaningless progression of obeisant commandments and unvaryingly inevitable results.

And if the universe, as logic alone must dictate, cannot have come from nothing, and shows such order and what we conceive of as design, then it can only have designed itself. And if life is part of that design, and its design continues, it would seem that life would need to be a participant in the self-designing process. And that some equivalency of life elsewhere in the cosmos always has been.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Has What Has Happened Had To?

There is no such thing, I've lately come to feel, as the inevitable. The factual assumption that something was unavoidable because otherwise it would have been avoided is now for me a flawed proposition. It's much like saying that if it could have been, it would have been. Or if it hasn't happened, that's because it couldn't have happened - not yet being possible in the "now" of its yet to be fully written destiny.

Except that in tomorrow's "nowness" our destined somethings must continue to be born and flourish - so that tomorrow's inevitability can and will have derived its certainty from what was only possible today. And the day after tomorrow will predictably find a newer version of the inescapable revelations of certainty's evolving role in nature.

What's involved here is/was a basic assumption that the universe is lawful and obeys its laws without question - thus inherently predictable via the concept that unquestioned laws are unquestionably compliant. Random events always reduced to mere surprises from the unknown natural mechanisms that logic has told us must certainly exist somewhere in the cosmos to cause our wonder.

But if that logical assumption is flawed, so is the logic fashioned to fit its implications. Because for one thing, by some unknown reason, we've been given or acquired choices - not in my view needed (even as illusions) if laws that regulate causation are unquestionably reliant. Which makes me think again about the predictability function of these things we describe as laws, and to suspect that, reliable as they are, they will not guarantee that equal causes will have exactly equal effects if at the same time we accept that there is some level of indeterminacy in the universe.

Leaving us with a system that operates with perhaps the highest degree possible of probability, yet to at least the smallest degree short of a certainty. And so I've come to doubt, and effectively disbelieve, the proposition that the inevitable is such because it's truly unavoidable.


And let me add the following as somewhat relevant to the above:

Would not a deterministic universe require all reactions to forces be theoretically predictable to a mathematical exactitude? And that once started, the progress of causative events could not vary one iota from that "time" to the end or endlessness of that universe's time, if either such an eventuality could have been destined to occur?

So in a deterministic universe, where the future effects of any causative event would never be in doubt, no predictive mechanism would seem needed absent of "doubters" evolving first to then fashion some calculative apparatus to maintain stability within an heretofore automatic process. Yet such selective mechanisms are here with us, and if, as some claim, illusory as to purpose, there'd be even less reason for their tangible forms to follow their illusory function.

It's as if somehow the illusion was needed of an indeterminate course in nature so as to preserve the secret from the expected inhabitants of that universe that they were making seemingly necessary choices for no reason except the need for them to believe that to exist at all, such decisions were necessary. (Some trickster god at work perhaps?)

So then is the supposedly pre-directed universe, its causative process without need for intentionality to sustain its effectiveness, nevertheless concerned with deliberately misinforming its formative mechanisms that direction and purpose must be decided by the mechanisms themselves? Doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense as an evolutionary prerequisite. Determinism not making a hell of a lot of sense in turn.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Towards a Hierarchy of Purpose

Considering ranking needs by relative importance of their purposes, rather than assuming purpose depends on some fixed importance of the needs it will serve.

It seems I'm still stuck on the subject of purpose, having been inspired to write or rattle off the following - on the same blog I referenced previously at:

"Your brain operates as a question asker and answerer at the same time. And it can still be working on questions that it raised within itself from birth. And still questioning all its earlier answers as well as questioning the basis of its earlier questions. So when sensory inputs give it something that it "senses" might have a bearing on these earlier decisions, which in some sense are always open questions, it pays a form of conscious attention.
And that attention comes in the form of a question as well. Each question becoming a vote for itself as first in the order of importance. And the brain also has a hierarchy of managerial processors who by consensus rule on that importance, with a constant stream of such rulings going on.
Arbitrated at all times by the metaphorical executive centered in the emotional part of the brain which has from the beginning offered the rest of the mechanism a set of purposes for both raising questions and seeking out their answers.
And deciding continuously, with assistance from the more conscious input from its rational section, which of those purposes will best be served by its further examination of tentative answers in the order of their tentatively determined importance, or significance if you will - that order in turn gauged in the end by how these earlier purposive efforts can be expected to assist in dealing with its most pressing purpose of assessing the consequences of any actions that are under consideration for giving service to its most immediate needs. The purpose then of which we will be the most conscious.
Or something like that. Posted by: royniles | February 18, 2010 2:18 PM"

Now I'm not sure how much of the above is close to what really happens, but it seemed like a reasonable rant at the time. Even though the question at hand was about consciousness, which I decided to address as a function of purpose. Which nobody else seems to be doing.

And in the course of laying down this piece, I began to realize that in addition to there being what some have called a hierarchy of needs, which our cognitive systems have been "designed" to address, there must be a hierarchy of the purposes that go along with those needs. As in a way, our essential purpose as living beings is to satisfy the needs that the very existence of life requires. And the purposes may not be ranked in accordance with any particular need, but with a relative importance of each need. And that will depend on the expectations of when it becomes necessary for our satisfaction and how. A hierarchy that won't be consistent with the presently constituted need-ranking hypothesis.
And needs after all create purposes. And those purposes in turn progressively refine and add to the needs that serve them.
Giving me something new to think about which hadn't been on the conscious agenda at all before today.

(Since posting the above, I have noted that the "hierarchy of purpose" concept is not exactly new, as the psychologist William McDougall [1871 - 1938] viewed the mind as an hierarchically integrated system of purposes. I discovered this when I also thought "purposivism" might be a good word to coin, and found that term also used with respect to the 'purposive psychology' theories developed in large part by McDougall.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Beneficent Animus?

If there's anything that would seem to require a modicum or more of disrespect in the list of authoritative systemics, it's Game Theory. So here's my latest contribution to that free floating need.

Response to a post at http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2010/02/too_many_fastballs.php#comments,
self-explanatory as to its purpose::

"The irony here is that game theory, which treats life's strategies as gaming within a set of theoretically presumptive rules, isn't even predictably accurate when compared with our most entertaining varieties of actual games where rules are made to fit. And yet here you seem to be arguing that if strategies were changed, the teams that change them would win more often. Ridiculous. These theories are wrong precisely because they don't account for the innumerable counter strategies that each team can "choose" from within the rules of the particular game.
Then apply this to the game of life where we don't yet know some of the most basic rules, and thus some of the most basic strategies and counter strategies so far devised by biological forms. Game theory which presumes to be operational within those rules can never be more predictively accurate than the accuracy of those presumptions.
(Which I might add, don't even presume there's a significant switch at some point between our short term and long term predictive apparatus.)
Posted by: royniles | February 11, 2010 3:27 PM"

Hope that helps.

Maybe this will help as well, as far as counter strategies are concerned:

"The essence of any effective strategy may be in the options available to reveal or conceal its purposes or intentions. The default position of any strategic move is its openness to view - it's revelatory nature. Our first strategic options of choice may have been in the learned (and later instinctive) concealment of that move, in whole or in part, and before, or during, or even after it's done. Without having such options available, or making use of such, you may perhaps have a choice of optional goals, but have access to extremely limited set of options for obtaining them. Evolution may have taught all surviving strategists that openness in competition is virtually never as effective as strategies with an element of surprise or at least concealment. (Even a shark will conceal as much of its approach and intentions therewith as effectively possible.)"
(From a work in progress.)

10-28-2013:  Actually that last bit was quite silly, as I missed seeing the point that all gaming strategies are by their nature deceptive.   No-one ever tells the other side or sides what their strategies are unless they will be seen as so unbeatable that the game is destined to be won before it starts.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

An Illustration of Science's Neglect of Purpose as an Explanatory Factor with Regard to Almost Anything

Excerpted from: http://bigthink.com/ideas/18091

Concerning an interview with David Albert. a professor of philosophy at Columbia University, whose research is mostly concerned with issues of the foundations of physics. Titles heading the interview were: Where Philosophy Meets Science and The Profound Violence of Time

It would of course help to understand the following commentary if the entire transcript of the interview with David Albert were to be read first, but there were just too many pages for me to copy here. In any case, I've added the relevant parts to which my comments were directed:

ROY NILES on February 5, 2010, 7:54 PM

Extremely interesting until we get to this part:
“Note that the set of events depicted by the movie being shown in reverse is just as much in accord with everything we believe about the laws governing collisions between billiard balls as is the movie being shown in the correct direction. That is, if you were shown a movie like this and asked to guess — just based on your familiarity with the laws of physics, just based on your familiarity with how billiard balls behave when they collide — if you were shown a film like this and asked to guess whether it was being shown forward or in reverse, you wouldn’t be able to tell. Physicists express this by saying that the laws governing collisions between billiard balls are symmetric under time reversal, okay? And what that means more concretely is — a law is said to be symmetric under time reversal if it’s the case that for any process which is in accord with that law, the same process going in reverse — that is, the same process as it would appear in a film going backwards — is also in accord with that law. So we say that the laws governing collisions between pairs of billiard balls are time-reversal symmetric. Good.”

Me: But this is not true in the sense that we actually would be able to tell. Because the balls originally lost some momentum – one before hitting the other, and then the second losing momentum until running out of room or energy. In a reverse of the filming, the balls would both visibly or measurably gain momentum.
So whatever law is governing collisions between pairs of billiard balls, it doesn’t seem to be the one of time-reversal symmetry.
I can’t help but think that somehow I have to be wrong about this, because I can’t imagine how, otherwise, everyone else in the know here would seem to have to be.

ROY NILES on February 6, 2010, 1:10 PM

But let me comment further relative to this part:
“Once again, it appears as if although the theory does an extremely good job of predicting the motions of elementary particles and so on and so forth, there’s got to be something wrong with it, okay, because we have — although we have very good, clear quantitative experience in the laboratory which bears out these fully time-reversal symmetric laws, at some point there’s got to be something wrong with them, because the world that we live in manifestly not even close to being time-reversal symmetric.”

Me: Because perhaps the world we live in has to contend with purposive behaviors of those forms of energetic activity we’ve designated as living. It’s the reversal of purposive behaviors that can’t be seen or envisioned as a symmetrical process.
I’d go further in proposing that nature’s laws are purposive, life-giving being within that purpose or not.
If so, time-reversal symmetry breaks down accordingly.
And if purposive, we don’t know why, not knowing why there had or have to be laws to begin with (assuming they had a beginning and weren’t always here). But we should know in any case that we can’t reverse, with any form of symmetry, the purposes to which those laws are put.

ROY NILES on February 6, 2010, 3:00 PM

And try reversing the film of these billiard shots and observe the time reversal symmetry.

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Addendum: More will be said about all this later, but for now, consider this: Laws have a use, so one could argue that usefulness is essential to their purpose. To reverse "time" would be to destroy that useful purpose - that sequential order in nature that these laws seem universally devised to regulate.
And so if what exists at any point in time results from a conversion of diverse forces, purposive or no, any symmetry expected to be found with a reversal of that conversion just wouldn't be there. The web of causation that would need to reverse itself so obediently is in the end as vast as the universe.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

On the Dubiousness of Purpose

I got myself involved in an on line discussion of morality the other day, a subject I'd sooner have avoided, except for the prospect of being as fatuously remarkable as the next guy on that subject. And of dealing directly, as it turned out, with a self-described public intellectual. And so was I dubiously honored, with some of the commentary/evidence to be posted here as a reminder to avoid such temptation in the future. (Names will be altered to preserve my innocence.)

And so awkwardly I begin:
"M**, it occurs to me that what you've done here is fail to present your definition of morality in terms of its evolutionary purpose, instead defining it in terms of a long term goal with which our metaphorical evolution has always had a problem in abstracting from its perceptions of the immediate natures of its needs.
Rules of behavior are of course not in themselves the goals they're meant or best expected to attain. Instead such rules in the metaphorical eyes of our evolutionary apparatus were meant to serve a more immediate purpose - which some natural selective force over time could well have fashioned to fit the goal of human welfare.
Except it seems that time enough has not yet passed to witness that achievement.
Leaving us with the questions as to which strategies and tactics we're prone to use for short term goals might fit such long term purpose as well. Getting us back to a consideration of whether a focus on the nature of the purposes that fuel our expectations might make the answers easier to find.
And no, I'm not referring to the possibility of divine purpose but to purposive expectations endemic to the mechanisms of all living and choice making entities."

But then the big man replied: "Evolution, of course, doesn't have a purpose. But more to the point, to me evolution enters into the picture only early on, in endowing us (and probably other primates) with an innate sense of right/wrong and justice (as seen in the behavior of bonobos, for instance). After that, it's our ability to reflect on things that really gets ethics off the ground."

So then I say:
"M**: - I refer to evolution as purposive, and in particular with respect to the "purposive expectations endemic to the mechanisms of all living and choice making entities.'"
Then you say flat out that "evolution doesn't have a purpose" - but add that nevertheless and early on, it endows us (and probably other primates) with an innate sense of right/wrong and justice.
Which would seem to require some facility on their part for choice based on purposive expectations and the like. (Or would it not?)
Evolution then viewed from your perspective as purposive, serving what we have come to call a purpose, but unable to in any way, even in the guise of life itself, to see that purpose coming.
Talk about a category mistake, you seem to have come up with a whopper."

So then this reply from M:
"I have no idea what you are talking about (italics mine). Evolution does not have a purpose because purposes are things that are characteristic of conscious beings - so that's out unless you subscribe to intelligent design. Evolution "endowed" us with a moral instinct simply because natural selection apparently favored such instinct in a limited form in certain species of social primates. So?"

So I say:
"So natural selection favors certain outcomes but in retrospect did so to no purpose. Ridiculous.
No I don't subscribe to intelligent design by some entity separate from life itself, nor do I subscribe to the Neo-Darwinist position which is even more magical.
I had thought it would be clear to you that with its sometimes slow and plodding trial and error ways, life has managed to engineer its own designs. But clearly I've had you wrong."

And then I add: "To recapitulate what I've proposed here as to an alignment between evolution and purpose, I had referred to evolution as purposive, in particular with respect to the 'purposive expectations endemic to the mechanisms of all living and choice making entities.' Later stating that 'with its sometimes slow and plodding trial and error ways, life has managed to engineer its own designs.' And as an aside, nothing in that view requires the assumption of either teleology or teleonomy. The predictions made by organisms are always to some extent inaccurate, but not unwitting (as teleonomy would require). They are intentional and therefor purposeful. They work in the end because they are consequential."

M** then replies to me as follows:
"As for purpose in evolution, as I said, unless one believes in ID it's nonsense. Come to think of it, even if one *does* believe in ID it's nonsense.
I have absolutely no idea what the phrase "purposive expectations endemic to the mechanisms of all living and choice making entities" could possibly mean."

And I conclude this exchange with:
M**, if you were really interested in knowing what purposive expectations and the like might mean, you could simply google the phrases.

Adding to all in general: "-- of course moral behavior is relative to the particular circumstances.. It's based on what we have learned to sense that others in that particular culture would expect us to do. This same expectational mechanism exists in all biological cultures. (And yes, M**, I've been advised that even bacteria have their own little separate cultures.) I also have some idea as to how these mechanisms evolved, and with what commonality of purpose. But this is clearly not the time or place to expand upon such a thesis."

So there it is folks. Out in the open. I'd long wondered why purpose is seldom if ever used when explaining the evolution of, for the best example, behavioral traits - as if the behaviors themselves, done for whatever temporal purposes, were purposively irrelevant,
And voila, as for purpose in evolution (at least in the publicly intellectual view of things), it's nonsense. Did I mention this guy was an evolutionary scientist?

Friday, January 01, 2010

So if, as the man said, you can't get there from here, how did we all get here from there?

Or, subtitled, Free Will Doesn't Come Cheap

But hopefully we've come to the point where we understand that whether or not the universe be unfailingly deterministic in nature, we and all other organisms are programmed to assume that actions are necessary to fulfill whatever has or has not yet been determined as to their consequences.

Yet there remain those who would argue that regardless of nature's initial programming, biological entities may themselves be programmed to be less than free in their responses - most if not all actions being chosen for them by the confluence of their genetically determined responsiveness and the circumstances that require them. Which would seem to come down to questions of the relative degree of freedom that organisms are under the illusion they are able to operate from. Seems a bit silly when looked at that way, but there it seems to be.

So I choose to forge ahead with some of the inference I've drawn from this mishmash of willfulness or willful-less in any case. And to re-use some of the commentary I had occasion to make elsewhere on the cybernet in response to some of this silliness.

Part of the confusion here is reflected in one respectable writer's comment that people may associate free will with randomness because they think (or want) free actions to be unpredictable. But he added that unpredictability does not require indeterminism - deterministic events can be “random” in the sense that they are not explicable in terms of predictable patterns of events.

But in my view this is just more philosobabble, because it's not about people wanting their actions to be unpredictable, it's about people worrying that their actions aren't predictable by virtue of their own choice! We want to know we have the freedom to predict with some accuracy. We want in other words the right to determine to at least some degree the nature of our own futures, if only for our own protection. And the other side of this coin is that we want the freedom to make such actions unpredictable by others if we so choose to exercise that form of will. And not only do we want nature to have given us that right, we want the freedom to use it in comparative abundance. And it may just be this "wantedness" that has effectively driven the evolution of our intelligence, or all forms of intelligence for that matter.

I responded publicly to other writings, such as some regarding "self-theories in the construction of free-will." These proposed that differences in our dealings with responsibility for our acts were essentially between the "fixed" traits of entity theorists (who tend to respond to difficulty by relinquishing agency) and "malleable" or dynamic traits of incremental theorists (who tend to react by reasserting their agency).

About which I wrote that some of the so-called fixed traits may only be "fixed" with regard to the upper levels of abstractive reasoning available. Which will then affect the self-confidence required to assert power over events that those with lesser abilities may not develop.

All of this based as well on heritable personality behaviors that (fixed or otherwise) reflect strategic approaches to anticipated events on a dominance hierarchy scale - and that also mesh with a continuum scale of competition versus cooperative strategic preferences (or partially heritable skill sets).

Well it was a response on my part that seemed like a good idea at the time.

I went on to say that rather than self-theorists, perhaps they could simply be referred to as self-strategists. Because behavioral traits can be at once both fixed and malleable - the differences in degree involving a variety of determinant circumstances.

And these same writers also talk about the traits stemming from theoretical beliefs, rather than vice versa. The beliefs in turn often self-chosen, relative to free will and deterministic conceptions.

But I'd argue the reverse: that the "theories" in question are more likely determined and or generated by the initial extent of flexibility in the individual array of heritable traits.

And if (as they might still argue) there's cognitive construction of belief involved independent from this element of causation, I'd argue that a prominent factor in this would be the effect of the cultural environment in which one's otherwise internal strategies were operative.

In other words a deterministically religious society develops a range of predictive behaviors consistently different from those found in a society that stresses freedom of thought and action, yet the individual dominance hierarchy strategies can still prevail.

Further, while it has seemed that our instinctive analytical functions are predicated on nature being essentially deterministic in its purposes, I'd argue that our predictive apparatus works from the premise that nature's purposes are more determinate and decisive. In other words the cognitive concept of predetermination (that has to have been a more recent construct) was not likely a mechanical element of life's initial predictive mechanisms.

Accordingly on one forum I wrote as follows:

"We unconsciously assume that nature has a plan, as well as that nature's actions are not only intentional but can be at times directed toward us in particular - and that these intentions in general are evidence of the particular plan that nature has made or has had made for it. So it's not that we feel events are predetermined so much as we feel events are part of nature's planning.

The difference here is this - that we feel ourselves as part of this process, in which we are expected to react to nature's probes in ways that will then allow or even require nature to revise its plans for us (either collectively or as individuals) accordingly."

So that with respect to our approaches to the "free will" problem, the differences seem to lie in the various ways we have learned to interpret nature's apparent (yet ultimately illusory) intentions. And thus to someone who felt that "lesser" animals didn't concern themselves with determinative forces in choosing their actions, I responded as follows:

"Yes, but to the extent that any animal can be said to have a rational component to its cognitive system, its emotional brain will turn to that component for "predictive" assistance - and to the extent that "rational" analysis turns to the functional culture from which it derives its 'learning,' the determinative nature of that culture will have an effect on the emotions. And these emotions, as the final arbiter of choice and action, will in some sense have taken the measure of its "freedom" into account.

And there are different varieties of "determinative" algorithms operating in any biological system that direct interaction among individual entities as a "cultural" force. Quorum sensing for example is to some extent "taught" by the particular bacterial culture extant to its group survival."

Asked for clarification of the "yes, but" proviso, I posted:

"Basically I'm arguing that the freedom each individual or group of individuals has to make decisions, consciously or just through some primordial sense of awareness, is limited by the scope of optional choices available to it through both its heritable strategies and those learned through the immediacy of its experiences.

So when I said "but," that was in reference to what I regard as fact that all life forms have considerations that equate to "freedom of will" to take action built into their functional apparatus, whether they can in any sense conceive of the nature of choice and freedom or not. And this is not limited to what we regard as brained animals. Some or perhaps most single celled organisms have no discernible "brain" area, yet calculate, learn and choose - such learning as a group being necessary for acquiring resistance to antibiotics as one example. (And I also subscribe to the theory that all life forms react as if nature's forces were potentially aimed at them, the purposes for which the organism had fashioned its programming to be wary of.)"

I might add that all of these organisms, including ourselves, tend to operate as if they are a part of whatever plan nature is operating from at that moment. However, it's likely only the humans that contemplate whether we can willfully change the plan counter to whatever "will" we conceive to be the extension of some natural purpose."

And that's how on this day I got from there to here, burning all bridges in my wake.