Memetic Analogue to the 20 Amino Acids as Vital to Psychosocial Life?
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 19 Jan 2015
Number 37 as indicative of fruitful pathways of transformation?
Annex to Changing Patterns using Transformation Pathways: exploring “camp-us” inspiration by an alien world view as a metaphor, 2015 (in which bibliographical references are also located)
As noted in the main paper, the following exercise derives from recent discoveries relating the codons of the genetic code governing life to patterns of numbers, as reported by Christopher Kemp (Is the answer to life, the universe and everything 37 ?, New Scientist, 20/27 December 2014). The report reviews research by Maxim Makukov, a cosmologist and astrobiologist at the Fesenkov Astrophysical Institute in Kazakhstan, in collaboration with the mathematician Vladimir shCherbak (The “Wow! signal” of the terrestrial genetic code, Icarus, 224, 2013). That title follows from a rare “Wow” moment in the SETI process in 1977 (J. R. Ehman, “Wow!”:– a tantalizing candidate, 2011).
With respect to the number 37, as the key feature of the report, Kemp notes the discovery that: “37 recurs frequently within the code. For example, the mass of the molecular ‘core’ shared by all 20 amino acids is 74, namely 37 doubled“. In an allusion to the imaginative tale of Douglas Adams regarding the meaning of life, Kemp comments: “Forget 42“. This had been quixotically declared by Adams to be the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything — as determined by a supercomputer designed by “hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings”.
The focus in the main paper was on the use of the drilled truncated cube — because of the ease with which the 64 codons of the genetic code could be associated with its edges. The question here is how the argument can be taken further in the quest for the cognitive nature of a memetic equivalent to the 20 “proteinogenic amino acids” which may be fundamental to the integrative processes of understanding experiential engagement with daily life. These might also be understood in terms of psychosocial “metabolic pathways“. Could they also be understood as a set of complementary generative metaphors — for which the complementarity is itself a challenge to comprehension.
As indicated there this suggests a requirement that people be able to engage with the pattern rather than be simply confronted with it by informed elites, as separately explored (Engaging with Insight of a Higher Order, 2014). This concern is in the spirit of various authors (Joseph Campbell, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: metaphor as myth and as religion, 1986; Henryk Skolimowski, The Participatory Mind: a new theory of knowledge and of the universe, 1994; George Lakoff and Rafael Núñez, Where Mathematics Comes From: how the embodied mind brings mathematics into being, 2000).
The issue of “where mathematics comes from” points to a potentially mysterious role of prime numbers, like 37, in clarifying the quest. Prime numbers have long recognized as a mystery and a focus for speculation by mathematicians (Marcus du Sautoy, The Music of the Primes: searching to solve the greatest mystery in mathematics, 2012). However much remains to be discovered in terms of cognitive engagement with them.
The concern here is whether these threads acquire greater meaning through the elegance of the symmetrical polyhedra which are variously valued as emblematic of integrative organization — and as approximations to a sense of globality. As with the Kazakh suggestion that there is a code embedded within the genetic code, the question here is whether polyhedral patterns suggest the existence of otherwise “hidden” pathways vital to psychosocial transformation.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 19 Jan 2015.
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