Re: Homeostatic routines (was Re: definitions for transhumanism)

Anders Sandberg (
11 Apr 1998 14:50:27 +0200

PaR <> writes:

> >Anders Sandberg wrote:
> >We are in some sense underdefined, we can consciously set up our own
> >goals and act on them, and this undermines homeostatic
> >routines. Fortunately.
> The human body has been observed to work in a homestatic way.
> Many aspects of the human nervous system have been observed
> to work in a homeostatic way. It would seem that humans are
> genetically programmed to work in a homeostatic way.

All life is homeostatic, that is the meaning after all of a metastable
dissipative system: it manages to retain its structure and state by
allowing energy to flow through it. But homeostasis in some dimensions
(like body temperature) doesn't imply homeostasis in other dimensions
(like aging).

> I think this carries over to the pschology of human consciousness.
> Human consciousness as it has evolved seems to operate in a
> homeostatic way as well.

How? In what respect? Obviously memory is not homeostatic, since it is
constantly updated and changes our behavior. We have certain stable
conscious states we tend to return to, but are they really long-term
homeostatic and not just short-term homeostatic?

> Perhaps a fundamental success
> principle, or a fundamental principle for the future evolution of
> trans and post human consciousness will be to overcome this homeostatic
> nature of consciousness.

I think it can be partially overcome already, since people do change
from time to time. It is not easy, and obviously it would be a bad
idea to change constantly since we could not retain ourselves well
(although, as I speculate in a short story I wrote, posthumans might
have attractors in personality space so that they appear to have
stable personalities while they are actually quite fluid).

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y