The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

The Origin of Cellular Communication

Even before social behavior was invented, there was a fundamental language of life. Living cells communicate all the time, even in the most primitive organisms: cell communication is the very essence of being alive.

There are obvious parallels between the language of words and the language of cellular chemicals. Two cells that exchange chemicals are doing just that: "talking" to each other, using chemicals instead of words. Those chemicals are bound in molecular structures just like the words of human language are bound in grammatical structures.

The forms of communication that do not involve chemical exchange still cause some chemical reaction. A bee that changes course or a human brain that learns something have undergone chemical change, that has triggered changes in their cognitive state.

From this point of view, there are at least three main levels of communication: a cellular level, in which living cells transmit information via chemical agents; a bodily level, in which living beings transmit information via “gestures”; and a verbal level, in which living beings transmit information via words.

Each level might simply be an evolution of the previous one.

At the same time, the Norwegian mathematician Nils Barricelli ("The Functioning of Intelligence Mechanisms Directing Biologic Evolution," 1985) warned that the kind of communication occurring at the cellular level is different from the kind of communication occurring among animals: "If humans, instead of transmitting to each other reprints and complicated explanations, developed the habit of transmitting computer programs allowing a computer-directed factory to construct the machine needed for a particular purpose, that would be the closest analogue to the communication methods among cells of various species."

 


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