August 7, 2015
A capacitor stores increasing electrical charge over time until an instant when it releases all stored charge. A speciation event following this pattern would suggest a contradiction of Darwin’s notion of gradual change in small increments. Countless small changes have been occurring intra-organism but these reach a “debut” point where it appears on life’s big stage for interspecies action.
Note the amount of work of all sorts from design through construction that goes into a new building before opening day. It is not that nothing was happening or that things were in “equilibrium” or “stasis” during this block of time simply that the changes were not public.
Nature is a great showman saving up eons of hard work for dramatic debuts on life’s stage. She likes to bring her fighters up through anonymous ranks and myriad hours in the gym before sending them into the ring for well attended battles.
Stephen Jay Gould and NIles Eldredge mistake these vast periods of species “stasis” as equilibrium when activity is continuous and intense at all times. They overstate the importance of opening night. Note: “Opening night” in evolutionary timescales may be 10 million years long over the course of a billion years of existence as a discreet organism.
If a dam breaks due to forces of water in reservoir does it matter if it rained for one day or one year? The resulting flood has the same disastrous effect on the village below in either case. Each raindrop creates femto change at its own micro- level perhaps knocking a frog on the head reminding it to have sex. Tadpoles then clog the spillway screens, water and thus horizontal force builds up against the dam, the stress in the concrete builds up beyond its capacity, the dam bursts - every level of the taxonomy is in play.
There is no big change without accrued small change somewhere in the chain of causality, even singular, catastrophic events. A comet works its way across the solar system toward Earth. Hitting the Earth is just another moment in its millennial travels from the Oort cloud and back. It is when one system in which change has slowly accrued, impacts another system that an event might appear to be punctuated, abrupt, saltational.
Ten million base pair mutations occur in one organism then in a single “moment” ( perhaps in geo-time) this series of genes affects shell color, shell shape. The change in the shape of the shell is just the manifestation of countless smaller changes, just another in a long line of changes not essentially larger, though far more noticeable than those that unfolded at the base pair level.
This interior-exterior expression dynamic occurs throughout nature, throughout the universe on every scale and throughout human society and through individual lives. It is what anger management is all about - channeling abrupt expression into socially constructive, personally advantageous action.
“....When a system reaches its own limits and becomes saturated, a reversal is produced - something else takes place…..” Jean Baudrillard
Every cell membrane is a capacitor.
Many small changes accrue reaching a critical mass, a breaking point at which new phenotypic expression occurs.
Things build up and then they burst, emptying to fill again; spores, emotions, cells, the universe itself is a capacitor, a regulator of change enabling a regular, dependable filling and emptying of charge, of change.
An election is a social capacitor, a built-in device for regulating and balancing social pressure. An election creates a sensation of change when much that is vital remains the same. There are highly conserved genes across kingdoms of organisms that are not available for mutation at every generation. These base pair sequences are guarded more than others lest we have our stomachs filled with brains. Each new generation is a biological election, a newer slate of variables to test itself against the forces of natural selection: capacitor-election-birth - storage-release-refilling. The female reproductive system in mammals is a capacitor when it fills up with a growing fetus and is emptied to fill again.
The animal and plant cell membrane is a capacitor with a low charge on one side and a higher charge on the other. positive charge outside - negative charge inside creating a differential that is used to convey sensory and motor information in neurons and other functions in other cell types.
On the ethnographic scale, adolescent male natives are restless, the village is overcrowding, the chief demands fealty, a revolt ensues. The village-capacitor discharges a few ocean-going sailing outrigger canoes filled with young sailors out into the South Pacific to find their own territory
Release via pressure excess
Release via catalyst
population growth from cell division - birth
population growth via immigration
A movie theater is a capacitor filling and emptying. Your stomach fills and empties - is it a capacitor as it churns away at the various products of sunlight doing its part to restore entropic balance from imbalance caused by the great temperature difference between the sun and the coldness of space in a cascade of causality first the plant then the stomach evolved as capacitors to accelerate entropic gradient reduction.
When there are transformations within the “capacitor”, if the medium doing the filling is transformed does the capacitor become something else? a transformer?
RE: Reference to Walter Benjamin’s essay “The Age of Mechanical Reproduction” @ page 99 of “Simulacra and Simulation” by Jean Baudrillard - . The reproduction reminds the brain of the glorious sensuality of the original oil painting though it is missing the aura itself it trips the memory of the original aura as we look at this simulacrum so all is not lost, perhaps little is lost with this glossy poster of Turner’s “Fighting Temeraire” thus the original is not lost.
The Panama Canal locks are capacitors - they fill, they disgorge carrying information ( ships-products, raw materials) to a new level.
JB Hypothesis: Gradual change is stored internally using “junk”DNA until all organ systems and all metabolic systems have been coordinated. After a million years or 15 million years of invisible but regular internal evolution via adjustment-coordination there is an expression event - a coming out party, a period of a few thousand years, a debut, a punctuation. Punctuation being the outward expression of a continuous gradual evolution.
Imagine a crew team spending 99 percent of its time, thousands of hours, in grueling workouts for several months to prepare for five six minute races. One would not assert that the rowing team was in stasis during its vital months of preparation with its intensity reaching race levels of intensity but with no spectators only the watchful eye of the coach.
Stasis is a mirage. If Gould wants to transfer the bookkeeper as agent of speciation heuristic to the next higher taxonomic level from Darwin’s level of the individual to Gould’s level of the species then he must accept the baggage - no cherry picking of features allowed. The route to speciation is: gestation to speciation not as Gould-Eldredge assert: punctuation to speciation.
My corollary to “punctuated” equilibrium fleshes out Gould’s argument for raising the taxonomic level of natural selection and adds quotation marks for what can be seen as only a superficial but highly visible “punctuation” - punctuation for the spectators only but not for those with inside knowledge of the entire process, the grueling, highly selective regimen of the oarsmen, stage actors, artists including nature itself. Why would nature showcase an unfinished, untrained, uncoordinated product i.e. to allow it to play a role before its time - too dangerous. Nature has pride and conservative character in not wanting to place entire development process in the arena as animals and especially humans revile and attack the unfinished, seen as weak as it often is. why would a species, in its gradual evolution oppose this fact of life. Keep changes under wraps until ready for action and under wraps does not imply stasis. Think of the vast scope of activity in a growing fetus. Birth is the celebrated punctuation event but it is part of a continuum.
Biologists should search for genetic-proteinic mechanisms for of genotypic storage-warehousing and the mechanics of release. These ‘releases” occur over spans of millions of years in some cases.
To do: Create experiments that seek to reveal mechanisms for warehousing useful base pair mutations to be triggered as phenotypic expression only when levels of internal balance is achieved re: component size, metabolism, process, timing etc. Internal “practice” prior to expression on nature’s battlefield.