The swarming body (swarm intelligence) Termino usado por Pierre Boulez para la conducción de orquestas.

By Jesper Hoffmeyer Paper presented at the 5th IASS congress in Berkeley, June 1995. In Irmengard Rauch and Gerald F. Carr (eds.): Semiotics Around the World. Proceedings of the Fifth Congress of the International Association for Semiotic Studies. Berkeley 1994. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter 1997, pp. 937940. In the fifties the French biologist P.-P. Grassé made a semiotically very interesting analysis of nest construction in termites (Grassé 1959). This work may be taken as a nice illustration of a general phenomeneon in the life sphere which I have termed semetic interaction (from Greek: semeion = sign, etos= habit): Semetic interaction refers to the tendency of living systems to make signs based on any persistent regularity: Wherever there has developed a habit there will also exist an organism for whom this habit has become a sign. When termites initiated nest constructing the following sequence of events was observed by Grassé: First, hundreds of termites move around at random, while they exhibit a peculiar habit of dropping small pellets of masticated earth in places which are elevated a little bit from the ground. In spite of the disorganised character of this activity, it results in the formation of small heaps of salivated earth-pellets. Second, these heaps of earth-pellets are interpreted by the termites as a sign to release a new habit. Every time a termite meets a heap it energetically starts building earth-pellets on the top of it. The effect of this activity will soon be the formation of a vertical column. The activity stops when the column has reached a certain species-specific height. Third, if the column has no immediate neighbours the termites completely stop bothering about it. But if in an adequate distance there are one or more other columns, a third habit is released. The termites climb the columns and start building in a sloping direction towards the neighbouring column. In this way the columns become connected with arches. Grassé introduced the term stigmergie `incite to work' for this kind of

French researchers have actually been able to simulate the termite's nest-building behaviour on a computer by applying a very simple "stigmergic algorithm" (Deneubourg et al. Based on this generalised concept of a swarm. to think of intelligence as a swarm-phenomenon. A swarm has been defined as a set of (mobile) agents which are liable to communicate directly or indirectly (by acting on their local environment) with each other. the body can be understood as a swarm of cells and tissues which. in which no direct interaction is necessary between the animals. Biologically speaking. and which collectively carry out a distributed problem solving. From nest building in termites to the dreams and fantasies which imprison human intelligence is a long jump. stick relatively firmly together. The amazing fact is that through a seemingly haphazard sequence of events a nest is actually produced which cannot but elicit the feeling in the observer.achievement. 1992). Wilson has later on renamed this phenomenon "sematectonic" (from Greek tecton = homunculus . Can blind habits and ignorant signs create intelligence? 1. E. and I personally don't believe that intelligence can ever be modelled at all in a disembodied medium. that there must have been some kind of intelligence behind it.inside our brain who does the thinking. because this would bring us away from the ever returning homunculus problem: that there seems to be nobody . The body swarm is not built on ten thousand nearly identical units such as a bee . Swarm intelligence Researchers in the new discipline of artificial life tend to think so. It is tempting. My point is that the swarm in which intelligence manifests itself is exactly that entity we call the body. unlike the swarms of bees or ants. since co-ordination is assured solely through the artefacts resulting from their behaviour. O. nevertheless. there just is no central processor to control the activities of the mind. builder) communication (Wilson 1975). the swarm of cells constituting a human body is a very different kind of swarm from that of the social insects. However. and they have baptised the term swarm intelligence for this phenomenon.

Rather it should be seen as a swarm of swarms. In 1976 the Danish immunologist Niels K. Jerne did an important observation when he pointed out that parts of the antibody molecules are interpreted as non-'self' by the organism which has itself produced them. At all levels these swarms are engaged in distributed problem solving based on an infinitely complicated web of semetic interaction patterns which in the end can only be explained through reference to the actual history of the body system. or that they have any intentions as to maintaining us. As the American biologist Leo Buss has shown. And the minor swarms again are swarm-entities. generating antiidiotypic antibodies to its own antibodies. A given molecular . a huge swarm of more or less overlapping swarms of very different kinds. I want to emphasise: I am not claiming that the detailed dynamics of the body swarm is analogous to that of swarms of social insects. we should rather ask ourselves how it can be. i. 1987: 53). our immune system is mainly self-centred. The floating brain We surely should not take it for granted that our different body parts love each other." (Jerne 1985) The immunological network is based on communicative processes: On the surface of each cell are located millions of receptors capable of translating exterior molecular messages or signs to specific patterns of biochemical activity inside the cell. Now.society. these anti-idiotypic antibodies may further provoke the production of anti-anti-idiotypic antibodies. which constitute the overwhelming majority of antigens present in the body. that the cells and tissues of our body do in fact co-operate in creating us (Buss. The key to this "somatic ecology" seems to be the immune system. the organism produces antibodies against its own antibodies. Accordingly. Therefore. Such antibodies are called anti-idiotypic antibodies. 2. evolution.e. as Jerne explains in his Nobel Price Laureate lecture: "In its dynamic state.. Buss introduced the expression somatic ecology for the striking state of breakneck-harmony characterising healthy people. so that we get a hierarchy of swarms. At each moment a given cell has to make a weighted interpretation of the collective state of its receptors. I only claim a formal analogy pertaining to the swarm phenomenon as defined above. and even anti-anti-anti-idiotypic antibodies.

Although the system. rather the cellular response will depend on the particular history of that cell many cell generations back in time as well as on its actual "cell-sociological" context. i.. i. Swarms of immune cells interact with swarms of nerve cells in maintaining the somatic ecology. Semiotics and the swarming body The general principle which has made this bottom-up or swarm conception of the body-mind biologically possible is the introduction of semiosis as the basic principle of life. And through this evolution the semiotic aspects . might be fully described in molecular terms. Neuropeptides and their receptors join the brain. The view of a centralised authority in the brain controlling the ignorant body fades out of sight and is replaced by an interactive organisation based upon the distributed problem solving capacity of myriads of cell swarms working in parallel.e. Not only are nerve fibres branching into the organs of the immune system. is rather illusory. The transformation of molecules to signs opens for an unending semiogenic evolution based on semetic interaction patterns between entities at all levels. its relation to the surrounding system of cells. Gradually a new image arises in which the brain is functionally integrated into the body: The "floating brain". Stupid molecules become powerful tools as soon as they acquire semiotic quality. formerly believed to be exclusively found in the nervous system. its internal logic is adapted to its communicative way of functioning. and especially from the brain. are widespread on the surfaces of mobile cells from the immune system. glands and immune system in a network of communication between brain and body. 3. By delegating semiotic competence to decentralised units. lymph glands.message does not automatically release a certain cellular response. indicates the extent of integration of the two big systems. But more important brain function is now known to be modulated by numerous chemicals in addition to classical neurotransmitters. probably representing the biochemical substrate of emotion (Pert et al.. at least in principle. and ultimately to single cells. as soon as they are interpreted according to cellular habits. The finding that surface receptors for neuropeptides. thymus. There is a growing awareness among immunologists that the separation of the immune system from the rest of the body.e. it becomes possible to ascribe intelligent behaviour to distributed systems. 1985). bone marrow and spleen.

html not an either-or but a more-or-less phenomenon. Respecto a Boulez. The swarm of cells constituting a human body should be seen as a swarm of swarms. 2. ¡Denme la esfera abierta! Pd. el de Platón en la republica El ritmo y la armonía son los que mas hondo penetran en el interior del alma y los que con mas fuerza se apoderan de ella. atmosferas. recordar el comentario del magíster musicae en el Juego de abalorios.molbio. 5. i. Signs. 6. thereby creating an ever more sophisticated semiosphere. They swarm out of our body collective. ¿Qué pensaría Rilke?. The simplest entity to posses real semiotic competence is the cell. Una persona educada en la música desarrolla una seguridad infalible en el goce de lo bello y en el odio . The minor swarms again are swarm-entities. Vertebrate bodies are supposed to function on the basis of swarm dynamic principles not unlike those pertaining to social insects. so that we get a hierarchy of swarms. 4. http://www. which are only in the slightest way dependent on the material world from which they were ultimately derived. whereby habits come to signify the release of further habits in an infinitely long and complex web stretching back to the beginning of life and forward to the global semiosphere of tomorrow.e. A semiosphere which finally had the power to create semiotic a huge swarm of overlapping swarms of very different kinds.ku. O sea. infundiéndoles una actitud noble.or better "subjectness" . 3. Subjectness has its own natural history. are the basic units in the study of life. This is because the cell is a self-referential system based on redescription in the digital code of DNA (Hoffmeyer 1992). Eight theses 1. 7. Living systems exhibit extreme semiogenic behaviour based on the semiotic dynamics of semetic interactions. 4. such as thoughts and language.of material processes gradually increase their autonomy. 8. Subjectivity . An image arises in which the brain is functionally integrated into the body. not molecules. noosfera.. Thoughts and feelings are not localised entities. Swarms of immune cells interact with swarms of nerve cells in maintaining the somatic ecology. de frentón estamos hiper protegidos. Esferas inmunológicas. se cagaría de lata probablemente.

Esto tiene reverberación en la intuición zen budista. Recordar también la importancia que le da Nietzsche en El nacimiento de la tragedia. Vásquez Rocca).a lo feo. . y Sloterdijk como herramienta sensible para la constitución de esferas inmunológicas (El hombre como experimento sonoro.