Memorable Configuration of Psychosocial “Vitamins”, “Amino Acids” and “Minerals”

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 24 Jun 2024

Anthony Judge | Laetus in Praesens - TRANSCEND Media Service

Cognitive Implications in Going Sustainably Sessile in Anticipation of Catastrophe

Introduction

In a period of increasing concern for health globally, exemplified by the new WHO International Treaty on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (2024), there is a case for exploring insights offered by the basic dietary elements widely recognized as vital to biological well-being. By contrast, this exploration focuses on the possibility of psychosocial analogues to vitamins, amino acids and minerals as potentially basic to psychosocial health — if only as metaphors enabling healthy comprehension. The justification for the exploration follows from the precision with which those micronutrients offer a focus to physical health in a society much challenged by “ill-health” — understood metaphorically, as only too well-framed by multiple crises and the expectation of more to come.

Curiously unlike those of physical health, those of psychosocial health are variously framed by a variety of descriptors on which there is little consensus — exemplified by the disorderly reference to human values, as frequently cited by leadership (Values, Virtues and Sins of a Viable Democratic Civilization, 2022). The terms evoked in political discourse could well be understood as so-called weasel words, embedded in “waffle” — signifying everything and nothing.

This investigation follows from an earlier exploration into sessility as a cognitive condition into which many are forced, or find viable, in contrast to the busyness otherwise upheld as appropriate to psychosocial health (Cognitive Implications of Going Strategically Sessile, 2024). As described by Wikipedia: Sessility is the biological property of an organism describing its lack of a means of self-locomotion. Sessile organisms for which natural motility is absent are normally immobile. This is distinct from the botanical concept of sessility, which refers to an organism or biological structure attached directly by its base without a stalk. Sessile organisms can move via external forces (such as water currents), but are usually permanently attached to something.

The question addressed is how the decline of collective organization — especially in the case of civilizations — merits exploration in terms of radical downsizing and its implication for individuals. Whilst readily explored in terms of the rejection of “global” in favour of “local”, it is the cognitive implications of “going sessile” which would seem to merit greater attention. A key to the viability of such a strategy is the array of elements enabling sustainable sessility, as potentially suggested by those on which so much focus is placed with respect to viable health.

Given the provocatively controversial nature of the exploration, the following argument makes explicit use of artificial intelligence in the form of ChatGPT 4 and Claude 3 (Opus variant). This approach is a further evolution of its exploration in earlier papers on related matters. In this respect, the role of such AI facilities as an “aggregator” of non-numeric information available on the web was previously noted (rather than as a “computer” of numeric data). In juxtaposing the responses from two AI facilities, the question is how to benefit from their contrasting capacity to articulate relevant responses through drawing together the vast resources by which they have been variously trained. Given the conventional role of panels of experts, such juxtaposition of responses frames the question of how many distinctively trained AIs could usefully have their responses juxtaposed in this manner?

Reservations regarding such use continue to be noted, both with regard to the questionable verbosity and style of responses, and what could be termed an undue degree of “algorithmic enthusiasm” for the relevance of the questions posed (Eliciting integrative insight via ChatGPT, 2024). Such enthusiasm could be readily caricatured as a form of “marketing ingratiation” detracting from the responses. Other styles of presentation could have been requested of the AI facilities. However it is the articulation of the responses to unusual questions which merits a degree of appreciation.

As an investigation of the value of AI in the reframing of controversial issues — and despite the reservations — this approach contrasts with the concerns currently expressed by many with regard to the dangers of AI. Those articulating such arguments seem themselves to make little use of AI and seldom highlight what valuable new approaches to knowledge and governance it may enable — despite token acknowledgement of benefits (AI for Good Global Summit, 2023). This is tragically evident in the defensive neglect of its implications for future international, interdisciplinary and interfaith discourse — none of which can be said to respond effectively to the current fragmentation of a civilization in crisis and the conflicts it engenders (UN adopts first global artificial intelligence resolution, Reuters, 22 March 2024; World needs urgent political action to guide AI, pope tells G7, Catholic Standard, 17 June 2024; AI and the Holocaust: rewriting history? UNESCO, 2024).

Potentially to be recognized as indicative of the psychosocial “nutrients” vital to the health of civilization, the status of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals could be recognized as suggesting an urgent indication of the need for AI:

None of the 17 goals, which include combating climate change and reducing inequality, is expected to be achieved by the UN’s 2030 deadline. Only about 12% of the 169 underlying targets are likely to be met. (The Sustainable Development Goals: can they be made smarter? Nature, 17 June 2024).

As previously noted, a merit of the following approach is that readers can explore alternative articulations by repeating (or amending) the questions to the AI facilities to which they have access — especially as those facilities become more sophisticated and have a wider access to relevant published research. A particular concern is with the biases introduced in framing the prompts used here — readily challenged to the extent that they take the form of “leading questions“.

In what follows, a major bias is the configuration of elements relevant to psychosocial health and how they might be comprehended in a more coherent manner — and rendered memorable. The challenging relevance of widespread (in)comprehension is assumed to be fundamental to the limited uptake of the many remedial strategies conventionally proposed. Even with respect to physical health, few have the ability to recall the specifics of the array of vitamins, amino acids and minerals vital to their physical health — however these may be effectively recognized by the human body in quest of appropriate nourishment. This deficiency would seem to be all the greater with respect to the elements fundamental to psychosocial health — despite the assertions of leaders and experts in that regard (Time for Provocative Mnemonic Aids to Systemic Connectivity? 2018). Of relevance are the possibilities of reconciling the “headless hearts” to the “heartless heads” beyond the preoccupations of either.

The focus follows previous explorations of the matter (Memetic Analogue to the 20 Amino Acids as vital to Psychosocial Life? 2015; Psychology of Sustainability, 2002). From that perspective, a curious aspect of “going sessile” is suggested by the overly familiar experience of waiting (Waiting as an Experience of Fundamental Significance, 2018). This can be understood as related to the manner in which various forms of singularity are now anticipated or awaited (Emerging Memetic Singularity in the Global Knowledge Society, 2009). Of similar relevance are the mysterious dynamics fundamental to hopeful anticipation of enduring viability (Paradoxes of Durable Peace, Heaven and a Sustainable Lifestyle, 2023).

As in the previous experiments, the responses of ChatGPT are distinctively presented below in grayed areas, in parallel with those of Claude 3. Given the length of the document to which the exchange gives rise, the form of presentation has itself been treated as an experiment — in anticipation of the future implication of AI into research documents. Web technology now enables the whole document to be held as a single “page” with only the “questions” to AI rendered immediately visible — a facility developed in this case with the assistance of both ChatGPT and Claude 3.

This compact presentation facilitates readability and overview by reducing the apparent length of the complete document by 90%. However readers have the ability to toggle access to the individual AI “response” associated with each question — and to hide it. This interactive facility is not available in the PDF forms of the document — for which both questions and responses are necessarily visible in a necessarily lengthy presentation.

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