Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge - Ariadne's Thread Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 31 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Consilience.
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Ariadne's Thread Summary and Analysis

The natural sciences stimulate the development of other sciences. Their complexities can be unraveled through consilience that works through breaking down components and then putting them back together. It is easier to dissect each element rather than analyzing in the opposite direction when investigating general phenomena. Consilience allows for understanding organisms through the examination of their organization. Through the analysis of elements we arrive at researching molecules. The way ants communicate is investigated through researching their organization, environment, and evolutionary history. Each colony is a superorganism made of members whose reactions affect other members. The communication systems of ants can be identified as released pheromones.

Dreams seem to be important in cultures that frequently represent serpents as part of trances and hallucinations. Freud investigates dreams, focusing on the role of unconsciousness as part of the hidden processes of the brain. As Freud fails to test his influential hypotheses, he also fails to realize that his assumptions are wrong. Dreams turn out to originate differently than Freud thinks. Science find that dreams involve the rush of visions charged by emotion due to the reorganization of information in memory. They are a fantasy that conscious brain activates during sleep without the involvement of senses. In molecular terms sleep occurs when certain chemical nerve cell transmitters decrease in number while other transmitters increase. Dreams begin when acetylcholine nerve cells fire, initiating PGO (ponto-geniculo-occipital) waves. When the pons pass signals through the PGO system they indicate that the body is in motion and the brain reacts creating images from memories. Dreams are to consolidate information upon awakening and improve responses relevant to survival. There is no information on the mechanism that produces specific memories in dreams such as serpents, but fear of snakes is shared by humans and other Old World primates. Such fear may be triggered by their dangerous presence on most continents. Gnostics and alchemists view snakes as a symbol of destruction and re-creation. The serpent transcends the snake in mind and culture.

Complexity theory was formed in 1970s and its theorists, such as Stuart Kaufman, claim that they involve deep laws such as that of deep chaos, self-criticality, and adaptive landscapes. According to Kaufman, living on the edge of chaos fosters evolution. Chaos theory itself proposes that complicated and indecipherable patterns can be detected through changes in the system. Complexity theory can benefit from biological research. The investigation into a living cell, the way it is composed and operates unveils its level complexity. It involves, for example, the rules of folding amino acid strings into the shapes of protein molecules. After molecular biologists discover fully the way a human cell operates and its composition, mind and behavior can also be researched. Other organisms can be examined, and reproduced through simulation. It can lead to the discovery of other life forms. Research questions involve organizing principles of organisms, the way it applies to mind, behavior and ecosystems, the way mathematics can assist biology, and the level of detail required to produce models.

This section contains 510 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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