Monday, October 1, 2012

Ironic, or Post-Ironic?

Bacteria do many things as organized populations. We have recently learned much about the molecular basis of intercellular communication among prokaryotes. Colonies display bacterial capacities for multicellular coordination which can be useful in nature where bacteria predominantly grow as films, chains, mats and colonies. E. coli colonies are organized into differentiated non-clonal populations and undergo complex morphogenesis. Multicellularity regulates many aspects of bacterial physiology, including DNA rearrangement systems. In some bacterial species, colony development involves swarming (active migration of cell groups). Swarm colony development displays precise geometrical controls and periodic phenomena. Motile E. coli cells in semi-solid media form organized patterns due to chemotactic autoaggregation. On poor media, B. subtilis forms branched colonies using group motility and longrange chemical signalling. The significances of bacterial colony patterns thus reside in a deeper understanding of prokaryotic biology and evolution and in experimental systems for studying self-organization and morphogenesis. Science itself finds 'discrete' telos and emergent complexity only ambiguously related. This posits logic itself, or rather stucturality as a logical phasmid, or in another sense, a floating signifier: As quorum sensing implies a cooperative behavior, this concept has been challenged by the evolutionary implication of cooperative cheaters. This is circumvented by the concept of diffusion sensing, which has been an alternative and complementary model to quorum sensing. However, both explanations face the problems of signalling in either complex (multiple species sharing the same space) or simple (one single cell confined to a limited volume) environments where the spatial distribution of the cells can be more important for sensing than the cell population density. A new model, efficiency sensing, which takes into account both problematics, population density and spatial confinement, has been proposed as an alternative.[22] One of the probable reasons for controversy is that current terminologies (quorum sensing, diffusion sensing, efficiency sensing) all imply an understanding of the motives and benefits of the process, and may be observed to apply under some circumstances but not others. Perhaps a sensible resolution to these controversies could be to return the terminology of the process to autoinduction, as originally described by Hastings and coworkers, as this term does not imply understanding of the intent(s) or benefit(s) of the process. If we extrapolate primitive sensory collectivities, and recognize in them a reverse recapitulation, we might introduce autoinduction as a pragmatic bottom to top ontological figure cognate to the relationship between consciousness and society whereby language would be understood as the paramolecular analog of a whole class of primitive signalling mediums, but one whose own emergent complexity as technological complexity ascends to a new class of host modification. This would be one way of recasting telos and the polity as part of an ecological governance designed to discover "the motives and benefits of the process" which "may be observed to apply under some circumstances but not others". It stands to reason that the ideological totalisms educed by our own autoinductive paramolecular syntaxis (collective cultural nous) could then be understood more as a logical phasmid and treated as a collective aesthetic object of meditation. This collective aesthicomeditative object would replace the rote legalisms of traditional theologies and ideologies with a pragmatically deduced sanctioning of space/time as host / home. Telos, then, would itself become an emergent desiring machine of autoinductive capability, but one understood within a host dependent range of composition, ie, the sustainability trope, but also perhaps, as with a child who has becomed potty-trained, a pride in our autoinductive capacity. This universal pride and wonder would power the modified telos needed to extend our species, and any we choose to create, into thoughtful new associations with the universe and other possible host-worlds.