‘Pranic’ Allostery (Microprocessor + Functional Machine)

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Michael J. Denton in Nature’s Destiny (1998) gives an interesting example from biochemistry, that of proteins. Proteins are built of chains of amino acids which mainly consist of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen. Proteins have a specific spatial structure which, as we have seen above, is very sensitive – for example to the temperature or acidity of the environment – and which can very easily be changed and restored for specific purposes within a living organism. Proteins are stable, but remain in a delicate balance, ever on the threshold of chaos. They are able to bond themselves to certain chemicals and to release them in other situations. It is this property which enables them to perform a variety of functions, for example catalyzing other chemical reactions in a cell. Proteins have the power to integrate information from various chemical sources, which is determined by the concentration within the cell of the chemicals involved. As we have seen when discussing the eye, proteins enable the processes in the cell to regulate themselves. This self-regulation is called allostery.

Thus proteins have a remarkable two-sided power – firstly, the performance of unique chemical reactions and the integration of the information of diverse chemical components of the cell; and secondly, intelligent reaction to this information by increasing or decreasing their own enzymic activity according to present needs. How this is possible is still regarded as one of the greatest mysteries of life. It means that the functional units which perform the chemical processes are at the same time the regulating units. This property is crucial for the functioning of the cell processes in orderly coherence. It prevents the chaos that would no doubt follow if the enzymic activity were not precisely adjusted to the ever-changing needs of the cell. It is thus the remarkable property of proteins to unite the role of both a microprocessor and a functional machine in one object. Because of this fundamental property, proteins are far more advanced than any man-made instrument. An oven, for example, has a thermostat to regulate temperature, and a functional unit, the burner or electric coil, which produces heat. In a protein these two would be unified.

Blavatsky maintained that every cell in the human body is furnished with its own brain, with a memory of its own, and therefore with the experience and power to discriminate between things. How could she say so within the context of the scientific knowledge of her day? Her knowledge was deduced from occult axioms concerning the functioning of the universe and from analogy, which is applicable on all levels of being. If there is intelligence in the great order of the cosmos, then this is also represented within a cell, and there must be a structure within the cell comparable to the physical brain. This structure must have the power to enable the processes of intelligence on the physical level to take place.

G. de Purucker wrote some seventy years ago about life-atoms, centrosomes, and centrioles. He stated that “In each cell there is a central pranic nucleus which is the life-germ of a life-atom, and all the rest of the cell is merely the carpentry of the cell builded around it by the forces flowing forth from the heart of this life-atom.” A life-atom is a consciousness-point. He explained that

the life-atom works through the two tiny dots or sparks in the centrosome which fall apart at the beginning of cell-division and its energies stream out from these two tiny dots, and each tiny dot, as it were, is already the beginning of a new cell; or, to put it in other words, one remains the central part of the mother-cell, while the other tiny dot becomes the central part of the daughter-cell, etc. All these phenomena of mitosis or cell-division are simply the works of the inner soul of the physical cell . . . The heart of an original nucleolus in a cell is the life-atom, and the two tiny dots or spots [the centrioles] in the centrosome are, as it were, extensions or fingers of its energy. The energy of the original life-atom, which is the heart of a cell, works throughout the entire cellular framework or structure in general, but more particularly through the nucleolus and also through the two tiny dots. — Studies in Occult Philosophy 

Along these lines Blavatsky says that the

inner soul of the physical cell . . . dominates the germinal plasm . . . the key that must open one day the gates of the terra incognita of the Biologist . . . (The Secret Doctrine).

Theosophical Panpsychism

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Where does mind individually, and consciousness ultimately, originate? In the cosmos there is only one life, one consciousness, which masquerades under all the different forms of sentient beings. This one consciousness pierces up and down through all the states and planes of being and serves to uphold the memory, whether complete or incomplete, of each state’s experience. This suggests that our self-conscious mind is really a ray of cosmic mind. There is a mysterious vital life essence and force involved in the interaction of spirit or consciousness with matter. The cosmos has its memory and follows general pathways of formation based on previous existences, much as everything else does. Aided by memory, it somehow selects out of the infinite possibilities a new and improved imbodiment. When the first impulse emerges, we have cosmic ideation vibrating the first matter, manifesting in countless hierarchies of beings in endless gradations. Born of the one cosmic parent, monadic centers emerge as vital seeds of consciousness, as germs of its potential. They are little universes in the one universe.

Theosophy does not separate the world into organic and inorganic, for even the atoms are considered god-sparks. All beings are continuously their own creators and recorders, forming more perishable outer veils while retaining the indestructible thread-self that links all their various principles and monads through vast cycles of experience. We are monads or god-sparks currently evolving throughout the human stage. The deathless monad runs through all our imbodiments, for we have repeated many times the processes of birth and death. In fact, birth and death for most of humanity are more or less automatic, unconscious experiences as far as our everyday awareness is concerned. How do we think? We can start, for example, with desire which provides the impulse that causes the mind through will and imagination to project a stream of thoughts, which are living elemental beings. These thoughts take various forms which may result in different kinds of actions or creative results. This is another arena of responsibility, for in the astral light our thoughts circulate through other minds and affect them, but those that belong to us have our stamp and return to us again and again. So through these streams of thought we create habits of mind, which build our character and eventually our self-made destiny. The human mind is an ideator resonating with its past, selecting thoughts and making choices, anticipating and creating a pattern of unfolding. Perhaps we are reflecting in the small the operations of the divine mind which acts as the cosmic creator and architect. Some thoughts or patterns we create are limiting; others are liberating. The soul grows, and thoughts are reused and transformed by the mind, perhaps giving them a superior expression. Plato was right: with spiritual will and worthiness we can recollect the wisdom of the past and unlock the higher mind. We have the capacity of identifying with all beings, experiencing the oneness we share together in our spiritual consciousness, that continuous stream that is the indestructible thread-self. All that it was, is, or is becoming is our karma. Mind and memory are a permanent part of the reincarnating ego or human soul, and of the universe as well.

In the cosmos there are many physical, psychic, mental, and spiritual fields — self-organizing, whole, living systems. Every such field is holographic in that it contains the characteristics of every other field within itself. Rupert Sheldrake’s concepts of morphic fields and morphic resonance, for instance, are in many ways similar to some phenomena attributed to the astral light. All terrestrial entities can be considered fields belonging to our living earth, Gaia, and forming part of her constitution. The higher akasic fields resonate with every part of nature. Various happenings within the earth’s astral light are said to result in physical effects which include all natural and human phenomena, ranging from epidemics and earthquakes to wars and weather patterns. Gaia, again, is part of the fields which form the solar being and its constitution, and so on throughout the cosmos.

Like the earth, human beings each have auric fields and an astral body. The fifty trillion cells in our body, as well as the tissues and organs they form, each have their own identity and memory. Our mental and emotional fields influence every cell and atom of our being for better or worse. How we think and act affects not only humanity but Gaia as well through the astral light, the action of which is guided by active creative intelligences. For example, the automatic action of divine beings restores harmony, balancing the inner with the outer throughout nature.

Symmetry: Mirror of a Manifold is the Opposite of its Fundamental Poincaré ∞-groupoid

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Given a set X = {a,b,c,..} such as the natural numbers N = {0,1,…,p,…}, there is a standard procedure that amounts to regard X as a category with only identity morphisms. This is the discrete functor that takes X to the category denoted by Disc(X) where the hom-sets are given by Hom(a,b) = ∅ if a ≠ b, and Hom(a,b) = {Ida} = 1 if a = b. Disc(X) is in fact a groupoid.

But in category theory, there is also a procedure called opposite or dual, that takes a general category C to its opposite Cop. Let us call Cop the reflection of C by the mirror functor (−)op.

Now the problem is that if we restrict this procedure to categories such as Disc(X), there is no way to distinguish Disc(X) from Disc(X)op. And this is what we mean by sets don’t show symmetries. In the program of Voevodsky, we can interpret this by saying that:

The identity type is not good for sets, instead we should use the Equivalence type. But to get this, we need to move to from sets to Kan complexes i.e., ∞-groupoids.

The notion of a Kan complex is an abstraction of the combinatorial structure found in the singular simplicial complex of a topological space. There the existence of retractions of any geometric simplex to any of its horns – simplices missing one face and their interior – means that all horns in the singular complex can be filled with genuine simplices, the Kan filler condition.

At the same time, the notion of a Kan complex is an abstraction of the structure found in the nerve of a groupoid, the Duskin nerve of a 2-groupoid and generally the nerves of n-groupoids ∀ n ≤ ∞ n. In other words, Kan complexes constitute a geometric model for ∞-groupoids/homotopy types which is based on the shape given by the simplex category. Thus Kan complexes serve to support homotopy theory.

So far we’ve used set theory with this lack of symmetries, as foundations for mathematics. Grothendieck has seen this when he moved from sheaves of sets, to sheaves of groupoid (stacks), because he wanted to allow objects to have symmetries (automorphisms). If we look at the Giraud-Grothendieck picture on nonabelian cohomology, then what happens is an extension of coefficients U : Set ֒→ Cat. We should consider first the comma category Cat ↓ U, whose objects are functors C → Disc(X). And then we should consider the full subcategory consisting of functors C → Disc(X) that are equivalences of categories. This will force C to be a groupoid, that looks like a set. And we call such C → Disc(X) a Quillen-Segal U-object.

This category of Quillen-Segal objects should be called the category of sets with symmetries. Following Grothendieck’s point of view, we’ve denoted by CatU[Set] the comma category, and think of it as categories with coefficients or coordinates in sets. This terminology is justified by the fact that the functor U : Set ֒→ Cat is a morphism of (higher) topos, that defines a geometric point in Cat. The category of set with symmetries is like the homotopy neighborhood of this point, similar to a one-point going to a disc or any contractible object. The advantage of the Quillen-Segal formalism is the presence of a Quillen model structure on CatU[Set] such that the fibrant objects are Quillen-Segal objects.

In standard terminology this means that if we embed a set X in Cat as Disc(X), and take an ‘projective resolution’ of it, then we get an equivalence of groupoids P → Disc(X), and P has symmetries. Concretely what happens is just a factorization of the identity (type) Id : Disc(X) → Disc(X) as a cofibration followed by a trivial fibration:

Disc(X)  ֒→ P → Disc(X)

This process of embedding Set ֒→ QS{CatU[Set]} is a minimal homotopy enhancement. The idea is that there is no good notion of homotopy (weak equivalence) in Set, but there are at least two notions in Cat: equivalences of categories and the equivalences of classifying spaces. This last class of weak equivalences is what happens with mirror phenomenons. The mirror of a manifold should be the opposite of its fundamental Poincaré ∞-groupoid.