Forums: Index > Integrating psychology forum > ToK "Strawman" for Matter/Life/Mind progression

To take the ToK deeper into various other fields and to show it in a "bootstrap" fashion (building it from simple to complex), I suggest the following points be addressed:

1.) Energy is the common denominator of the universe – E=mc². (Both Gregg and I have agreed on this.) And energy is described by spatial vectors, which are themselves described in terms of existence, direction, and magnitude (loosely: nouns, verbs, modifiers). All things are energy based. Otherwise, they do not participate or interact with our known universe.

2.) Fundamental laws of energy are constants which form the basis of systems. Without some constant force, nothing would create a cyclical process, the hallmark of a system:

"A system is composed of regularly interacting or interrelating groups of activities/parts which, when taken together, form a new whole." (Overview in Systems Theory, Wikipedia).

3.) Only systems can form knowledge. Without repetitive actions, nothing can be conveyed to another intelligent being. The systematic basis is divulged within nouns, verbs, and modifiers (adjectives and adverbs). Through clarification of systems, hooks to philosophy (sentential logic) and mathematics are created, for they both have a systematic basis.

4.) Systems survive due to homeostatic principles (balance; see Walter Cannon). When the systematic processes are knocked outside of their tolerances, the systems deteriorate and dissipate.

5.) All living organisms are energy systems (see Elizabeth Duffy). This is the next jump in the ToK - from matter to life. Natural selection would be introduced at this juncture. ToK would now tie into biology.

6.) The greatest predator upon living organisms is entropy (disorder which renders simplicity) which is ubiquitous. There is no escape from the grasp of entropy.

7.) To survive, living organisms must climb toward negative entropy (see What Is Life? by Erwin Schrödinger. Negative entropy is a measure of order and complexity.

8.) The key to climbing toward negative entropy relies upon gaining resources and efficiently using gained resources. IMO, this is the logical launching point for Gregg Henriques' Behavioral Investment Theory (BIT). This also provides the link which grows into the field of economics.

9.) It is the brain’s evolved task to effectively manage the distribution of resources to effect survival and homeostasis. This spot lends itself to connecting with neurobiology, Perceptual Control Theory, and the classic work of Walter Cannon. This is also a good spot for the evolutionary growth of the brain (reptilian, mammilian, etc.).

10.) Evolutionary pressures have forced the brain to sacrifice some subsystems during times of danger. This is deemed a “fight or flight” state which is guided by the sympathetic nervous system and the somatic nervous system which are included in the eXternal Control System (XCS). Homeostasis is sacrificed to concentrate resources on escape or avoidance behaviors as well as to conserve resources since the duration of need is unknown. Homeostasis returns only when safety is recognized. This is deemed a “rest and digest” state which is guided by the parasympathetic nervous system and the enteric nervous system which are included in the Internal Control System (ICS). The ICS and XCS may or may not be higher-level biological systems controled be the hypothalamus, but the ICS and XCS are two distict, categorical pressures of the environment affecting evolution.

11.) The fundamental redirection of energy resources between the ICS and XCS is primarily responsible for “emotions/feelings”. The redirection of resources is to effect two basic behaviors: approach and avoid. (I prefer “seek” and “avoid”.) This spot links nicely to Global Workspace Theory as well as Robert Plutchik's work and the work of many others. This is also a good spot to marry behaviorism (Skinner) and humanism (Maslow) together using "energy" as the "adhesive."

12.) Consciousness is tied to the XCS (primarily the sympathetic nervous system). Sleep is tied to the ICS (primarily the parasympathetic nervous system). Ties back to neurobiology (GABA, beta-CCM, etc.) work here. It also provides a controversial spot to discuss the evolved purpose of consciousness. (I vote for Freud's interpretation: it's for rehearsal work.) Further, it's a place to discuss whether "mind" and "consciousness" are synonymous or not. (As G.A. Miller once said, "Consciousness is the RESULT of thinking, not the process of thinking.")

I believe a fairly convincing case can be built with ToK through the first 9 points. 10 through 12 get progressively dicey.

JAK 04:00, 1 December 2006 (UTC) JAK 05:02, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

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