C e l l k n o w l e d g e

By Eli Rejwan

December 28, 2000

This is a theoretical model of how the living cells make use of an imaginary information mechanism for the purpose of memory storage and retrieval, for the use of the genetic information, and for exercising logic in decision making.

A non-biological information mechanism is the obvious assumption. A possible set of functions of the mechanism is described here. The present description avoids defining the information storage media except for stating that it is at the sub-atomic level and consequently is in the domain of physics.

The biological functions that make use of the information pertain to life sciences. In this attempt to describe the cell's use of the information mechanism an effort was made to avoid assumptions in the biological domain, but in many instances this was unavoidable.

This model is in a domain that extends from the sub-atomic storage media to the biological structures capable of driving the information mechanism. The information itself may be viewed as another domain. Most of the knowledge and research in botany, zoology and medicine relate to the stored genetic information.


1. Introductory remarks
2.The onset of life
4.The affinity information
5.Human memory
6.Human intelligence
7.Knowledge within the cell

1. Introductory remarks

This article advocates the notion that all information in use by living organisms are based on physical non biological processes. This is contrary to the generally accepted view that the information is stored in chemical structures driven by biological processes.

Cell knowledge reflects the ability of cells to store, retrieve and process information. The genetic information is within cell knowledge. Cells have the ability to interpret the genetic information and to produce the signals necessary to act upon them. Various cell activities rely on cell knowledge. This is true for all living organisms.

Human memory and intelligence are the result of cooperative action of brain cells to enable humans to perceive their environment and sensations, to remember them, to think and to act. All these rely on cell knowledge.

Cells knowledge did not evolve to allow the functions of the brain. Brain capabilities evolved relying on the pre-existing capabilities of cells.

Understanding cell knowledge leads to understanding the main mechanisms of life. It offers clear explanation to many of the major puzzles of life.

The domain of cell knowledge is limited to the information aspects of life. The biological aspects are beyond the scope of this article.

The section 'onset of life' makes an evaluation of the information storage and retrieval possibilities that must exist in nature to allow the initial living entity to support life and, later, to evolve. It will be argued that no major changes were made in the information storage-retrieval mechanism of cells since the onset of life. This is because the storage media exists in matter, living or not, possibly in the domain of quantum mechanics. Evolution is essentially the continued use of that same mechanism, accumulating more information and better refined information.

The section 'interfaces' describes the use of information by the biological processes of the cell. It is likely that a set of signals is in use that is close to our use of the words of a language, except that cells have no appreciation of the meaning of the words. Instead, cells detect the words by sensing a similarity between signals they hold and the incoming or retrieved signals. The number of words in the language increase with evolution. The expansion of the number of words in the language is of secondary importance to progress through evolution, as evolution is mainly the reflection of more information in storage and better information.

The section 'human memory' precedes the section 'knowledge within the cell', although human memory relies completely on information stored within the cell. We are aware of many aspects of our memory, but have no means of directly inspecting the working of the cell in the area of information storage and retrieval. Therefore we have to deduce the role of cell memory by observing our own memory in action.

The section 'human intelligence' presents one possible explanation of how human intelligence functions relying on the notion of non-biological information storage and processing.

The section 'Implications' describes some of the many far reaching conclusions that can be reached as a result of understanding of the mechanics of cell knowledge at work.

2. The onset of life

The event of initial appearance of life is justifiably assumed to rely on a coincidental occurrence of conditions that helped form a living structure. The following is an attempt to describe the circumstances related to a transition from non life to life:

  • The new living entity is a chemical string that has the ability to grow longer. The ability to grow longer is not necessarily an indication of life, but a living string may be assumed to have the ability to grow.

  • The living entity has the ability to acts in response to an event or in response to the presence of a compound or in response to some other condition. The action needs not necessarily be beneficial, evolution will later select the more successful responses.

  • The ability to reproduce itself by intentional subdivision may come in later evolution, relying in the interim on natural events to break up the chain.

  • The ability to act in response to an event or condition, mentioned above, must be duplicated as the string grows longer. This is necessary in order to preserve those abilities in the next generation.

  • Life is safe. No predators to contend with, since Earth is sterile.

The difficulty in the above:

  1. A mechanism is needed to detect an event or condition and indicate an action. More of this is needed as evolution progresses.

  2. The ability to duplicate the genetic information in new copies of the organism.

This difficulty can be eased by assuming the pre-existence of a mechanism of information storage and retrieval.

The mechanism must have existed as part of nature. In this article we will assume that such a mechanism exists, on very small scale, in all matter at the sub-atomic level. It appears that the major aspects of such a mechanism may exist in the domain of quantum mechanics. Other studies of small particles may also be associated with the required storage mechanism.

Cell knowledge, as contemplated in this article, needs to rely on a signal storage and retrieval mechanism with the following functions:

  1. The ability to copy information (signals), as is needed when cells replicate.

  2. Transmission of signals from one part of the living organism to another, within the same cell.

  3. The ability to search the entire memory for signals similar to a given sample of signals. This will be referred to later as 'search by clue' If the search is successful, the mechanism retrieves the matching signal together with any associated signals. A successful search generates an indicator detectable by biological processes.

  4. Fast retrieval. May be considered instantaneous for practical purposes.

  5. Large storage. May be considered unlimited for practical purposes.

Signals can be of random contents. No meaning is associated with them. Their use is restricted to detecting similarity with other stored signals. No attempt is made to magnify the signals.

The logical operations equal and not equal are in use to process the stored information. No other logical and no arithmetic operations need to be used in the processing of information.

With the assumption of an existing information storage and retrieval mechanism, the emergence of life remains a puzzling event, though much more likely than without the mechanism. The new living entity must acquire, by coincidence, the ability to drive the information mechanism.

Here is an imaginary example of the use of the information mechanism by a very primitive living string:

  1. One section of the string contains a signal of random value, and has the biological ability to sense sun shine. It reacts by producing a copy of its signal for use in a search by clue.

  2. Another section of the string contains a signal of random value, different from the signal in the previously mentioned section. When a search by clue brings a signal matching its own, the successful match is sensed by the string and reacts causing the string to curl.

  3. The search by clue mechanism, carried out by various sections, may reach the two signals if stored together. This establishes the relation between the two signals. When one of the signals is the clue, the two signals emerge.

  4. The result of the search may be added to the memory, which results in increased correlation between the two signals.

In the above example there is nothing that protect or help the organism in any way. This is not necessary at the start. Future varieties will have better chances of becoming abundant if they offer advantages.

The two signals mentioned above are two words in the internal language of the cell. New words get added with evolution, reflecting new abilities to sense or act. New words may reflect factors useful for action, such as avoiding danger.

The addition to storage of signals that reflect actions taken is equivalent to recording the history of actions taken. With evolution, more information is added to indicate desired or failed results. The words for 'desired' and 'failed' are essential for evolutionary success.

3. Interfaces

Interfaces refers to the use of information by the biological part of the cell (info to bio), and to signals 'produced' by a biological function of the cell in reaction to sensed physical events or sensed conditions (bio to info). The signals 'produced' are actually copied from the genetic memory.

Stored information is either genetic, which most cells use for retrieval only, or life-time information. Lifetime information is not carried to the next generation. Genetic information can be added to by cells which specialize in reproduction.

The biological parts of the cell can sense conditions they specialize in such as acid, heat, sound vibrations, and pain. The cell causes signals that describe the sensed condition to be copied from its memory and made into an information item. The information item can be directed for internal storage, transmission to other cells, or both.

Another type of information interface is the use of information derived from internal storage or from information processing for actions within the cell or for transmission through motor nerves to other cell to act upon.

Information signals can be moved within the cell, through the cell-to-cell wall, or long distances within nerve cells.

The transmission of signals through nerve cells is an action by the biological part of the nerve cell to move the information from one end to the other end of the nerve cell. The electrical pulse accompanying this action is a by-product of the moving effort, not the signal itself.

The signals that make up cell information are like the words of a language. New signals are added as needed and as made necessary by evolution. The form of a new signal is arbitrary. It can be introduced either because it directly relate to a new sensed or action information, or relate indirectly to such information.

If initially the word in recorded in the genetic memory in conjunction with other information, it has analogy to a word in a sentence. This allows the recognition of the word by context.

After first introduction to the genetic memory the new signal gets used by all cells which need the word.

The information is contained in many parts of the cell. A gene is like a book-shelf, the actual information lies within the book. Genes of different organisms with similar chemical structure may contain similar genetic information, but not necessarily so. The information contents depends o the ancestry.

The typical cell use of life-time information is in brain's memory cells. Another example is in muscle cells' use of memory for muscle training, to guide the cells in interpreting the brain signals, to learn the timing and action coordination. This relates to such muscles that operate the voice (speech) or walk movements. Good information can make good musicians and good craftsmen.

The most complex interfaces between the biological cell and cell information exist in the brain cells. The brain has to do extensive processing of incoming information from brain cells, and organize the redistribution of information to cells. The following sections attempt to assess the working of brain cells.

4. The affinity information

Very early in evolution life must have acquired the ability to qualify memory items with information to indicate 'if it is good or bad for me', and act upon the information. I will refer to this as the 'affinity information'.

Evolution is mostly the refinement of this factor. Better information allows better survival rate. Large variety of descriptive symbols were adopted. As well, large number of symbols to describe the desired response. These are in the domain of information storage and retrieval. Enhancements in this field is achieved through cell logic (see later).

A separate development in the domain of biology must have occurred, necessary to recognize the symbols and initiate action. Here the selection by random changes and survival of the fittest were the tools of development early in the development of life. It may still be partly relying on random changes. Cell logic is likely to be giving some help.

In general, the biological evolution is slow and relies heavily on the 'affinity' information that accompany most stored data.

Extensive development occurred at the stage of single cell organisms. In multi-cell organisms the genetic information storage and interpretation remains at the cell level.

Since this is the area that must have received the most attention by evolution, we can expect it to be complex and difficult to study. The associated complex logic relies largely on recorded past experiences when assessing changes. Elements of past experiences are qualified by elaborate 'affinity' attributes. The cell logic itself sets up and maintains these attributes, a process which has been active target of improvements throughout evolution.

5. Human memory

The function of the brain is in the domain of biology, and therefore outside the scope of this article. However, the following two viewpoints will be assumed:

The first relates to the transition from single cell to multiple cell organisms. This was of little consequence to the basic functions of cells. Cells remained to be in control, but worked together with other cells for better efficiency.

The second viewpoint has to do with communications between cells. As long as a species is of single cell, all is needed is the ability to do within- cell transmission of signals. Multi-cell organism could do initially with communications across cell-to-cell walls.

As the species became more complex, made up of a large number of cells, the cell-to-cell communications became inadequate. Extensive network of nerves developed, which improved communications considerably. But this is not enough to satisfy the need for communications to exchange massive amounts of information. The result is the development of nerve centres. These are suitable for communications with specific sources and destination cells.

To work out human memory, the brain cells needed to pool together the information contained in storage at memory cells in order to make up complex memory objects that humans perceive. To do this, the brain cells have to to know what memory is to be recalled. They need a clue to the desired memory, to use for performing a search-by-clue. The clues have to be sent simultaneously to all related memory cells in order harmonize the responses.

When the recall is done at the cell level, the signals have to be collected from all cells and a selection made of the proper parts needed to build the picture. Obviously regular nerve centres are not adequate for this purpose. It is likely that the brain contains a network of signal channels structured to do the necessary sorting out and processing of signals. The purpose is to reconstruct the overall details from incomplete information contained is the various cells. A large number of cells are involved in holding the memory items, with extensive overlap of contents.

It will be assumed here that brains cells maintain a dialog where:

  1. Cells contribute information for the attention of a particular community of brain memory cells.

  2. Processing is performed by specialized cells to give priority to some of the information for further follow up.

  3. The selected information is communicated back to the cells for cell level processing.

  4. The cells use the information thus received as clues for search-by-clue. The updated information that emerge from the search is added to any sensory information coming from sensory cells via nerves, and the collection is sent again as in step 1 above.

The above cycle, steps 1 through 4, is repeated at fixed intervals in order to synchronize the selection and distribution of information. The timing rate is high, dozens of cycles per second. We cannot sense the information coming from individual cells, but we are conscious of the information distributed back to the cells as in step 3 above.

The nature of consciousness is a mystery, and appears to be a biological function. The information aspect of consciousness is not a mystery, it is limited to the information transmitted in step 3 of the description of the brain memory functions stipulated above.

That stipulation describes the exchange of notes by brain memory cells intended to adopt common memory search clues. Non-memory brain cells do the rooting and determination of the dominant information received from the cells, other non-memory cells 'publish' the next common clues by making copies of those selected and routing a copy to each memory cell.

If the stipulation is correct then this is the only occasion where some brain network nerves carry the identical information destined to the brain memory cells. It is unlikely that we can become aware of the signals of any single cell. Not even a pain signal coming from a nerve cell, since we know that pain can be masked by preoccupation of the mind in other matters. The pain signal attains our awareness when it is adopted for publishing to the memory cells. All this suggests that our awareness is purely a sensation of the flow of published information. The mystery is why this massive flow of identical information is recognized by us in a way that we know as awareness.

Brains cells also work in cooperation to select the information to be added to our memory. The recording is done in parallel in multiple cells. An object is stored as a collection of numerous discrete and interrelated memory components. This is necessarily so, since the brain never gets hold of all the details of an object simultaneously, although it is well aware of the interrelationship of the various components.

The assumption of cyclical coordinated dialogue between cells is analogous to the function of a newspaper, collecting information from correspondents, editing and publishing them back to the correspondents and to others. It is the only method that seems to allows millions of cells to act together on providing our ability to memorize information and recall them. The pace of the cycle must be fast, since we cannot detect the transition between the individual broadcasts.

The brain obtains sensed information such as viewing, hearing and feeling through nerves. The origin is the sensing cells. Although the nerves may bring a continuous stream of signals, the brain's network of connections lets through only specific parts of the information at a time. All parts of a view or thought are soon completed sequentially. We get the impression of simultaneous awareness of all parts.

When we recall information from memory we find the result almost similar to what we experience when sensing information. We actually obtain from the brain's memory cells a large number of partial pieces of information delivered sequentially over time but completed within a fraction of a second. The same brain's network of connections process them similarly to sensed information.

A brain cell that specialize in memory may contain most of the complete memory item, but can pass over to the brain's network of connections only specific parts of it. The function of the network of connections is to receive the signals from all cells and select the most common signals. The dialog mentioned in step 3 above serves to establish a clue that helps guide the memory cells to aim at retrieving the same memory item.

This method allows us to have the benefit of reliable memory that is not dependant on any single cell. It allows us perceiving the sensory and memory-based information at the same time, with the sensory information distinguished by its persistence.

The brain cells are in control and continuously update the information presented and redistributed. For this reason we cannot freeze our minds and force it to continuously present to us the same information. We can look at a scene and find that our minds slides uncontrollably to considering different aspects of what we see. The change over is usually smooth, since the cells do search-by-clue using the distributed information, and usually do not come up with new information that is much different from the previous information.

6. Human intelligence

It is often difficult to tell whether we are recalling past memory or we are thinking. One reason, we do both simultaneously. Another reason, we use the same tools for both.

A human being can think of a new useful device and patent it as an invention. The end product of thinking is the storage in memory of the details of the structure and features of the new device. A prisoner of war may plot an escape at the time of change of guards. The end product of the plot is a a large number of escape details in memory. Human intelligence is the process by which these end products are created in memory. The purpose of this section is to examine the mechanism behind this process we call thinking.

There are several factors that help make the process of thinking possible. These are described here.

  1. Fragmentation. We perceive and remember all thought items (sensed items, memory items, and imaginary items such as the new invention) as a collection of related components that reach our mind sequentially, instead of a single entity that reach our mind at a specific moment. That is why objects created by our imagination from copied components are easy to work with, being similar to real objects. In both cases they may reach our mind in any order.
    What we store in our memory are patches of information of various nature, including shapes, colors, speeds and many other aspects. Depending on the amount of details we store, our perception of the details range from very clear to very vague, but the amount of details memorized is always incomplete. We look at a statute, we see it very clearly. In fact our mind processes and memorize only part of the details. The details of the new device (invention) can be a collection of components copied from various memory objects. Other components may be constructed relying on methods or logical relations that exist in other memory objects. When these parts are thrown in, our mind perceives the collection as a clear picture similar to others in our memory. The fact that they are mere patches is of no consequence. The same is true with the escape plot: we may pull components from our memories playing ball, hiding, and jumping. We add memories of our efforts to time our activities. The final idea of escape is consistent with other memories and does not need any shaping effort.

  2. Memory retrieval by clue. The memory retrieval method used by cells is search-by-clue. This method allows picking up parts of any memory object if an aspect of it matches the search clue. Search-by-clue is the only means of memory retrieval available to cells. Our memory function depends on it, sending periodically signals to be used by all receiving cells as clues for memory retrieval.
    When we think our brain may need information from our memory cells for our consideration. This is done similarly to any other memory recall: clues to the desired memory items are sent to the memory cells, and updates sent periodically, for the usual memory retrieval. Memory cells make no distinction between a request when the brain is recalling memory and a request when the brain is doing the thinking. Thinking and remembering rely on the same mechanism. They differ only in the purpose for which the brain is active. At times it is difficult to make a distinction between the two, and such a distinction would serve no purpose.

  3. Powerful thought language. A memory item is more than a plain picture. It may include indication of past actions and consequences, memory of hardship and rewards, indication of speed: slow or quick, and most important, the 'affinity' information, an indication if this particular item is good for me or bad, useful to me or useless.
    Cells have the ability to detect the information and act on them because they are encoded in the cell's own language, the thought language. Words to describe the different types of pain, their location, real and abstract notions. This ability of the cell is in the domain of biology and therefore is outside the scope of this article.
    While this biological ability can be viewed as a major factor in intelligence, it is important to realize that its role is complex but not mysterious. It detects the 'affinity qualifier' coming from memory and sets the attitude for how to proceed: caution or action, or some other predetermined initiative that may be indicated by the memory information.

  4. Speed. The basics of the mechanism behind human intelligence is the retrieval from storage of extensive amounts of information that relates to the subject of the current thought, examining their relevance, and arriving at conclusions. All at a very high speed. At the cell level the speed of response can be assumed immediate.

Here are some questions that we may ask ourselves when trying to understand the process of thinking:

  1. How does the mind pick up information from storage that are relevant to the subject of the current thinking, and how does it avoid becoming cluttered by irrelevant information ?

  2. How does the mind assess the suitability of the retrieved information for adoption as part of the solution ?

  3. How does the mind use its imagination to create ideas or visions that do not currently exist in memory ?

  4. How does the mind ensure consistency between the various items obtained from memory and adopted in the process of thinking.

  5. How does the mind evaluate the importance of the various aspects ? This is necessary to avoid bad decisions.

We can visualize the process of remembering or thinking as looking at the surface of a pond. The surface represents our short memory, the bottom of the pond represents the store of information in brain's memory cells.

The brain selects components from the surface of the lake to send as 'clues' to the memory cells. Soon several related items pop up at the surface, dragging along their related details. Items at the surface may serve as clues for subsequent retrieval. These items sink back after a while, replaced by other memory items brought in by different clues. The items on the surface are usually components from one or several memory objects. The surface is our memory recalls or imaginary views and thoughts. When it is imaginary it is not different from views and thought that originate from memory recalls.

The surface of the pond serves like a movie screen. A variety of memories can be seen at the surface. These are not restricted to visual memories, they may be emotions, pain, happiness, any past experiences or thoughts.

We are all familiar with the way memories and thoughts evolve in our minds. We can confirm the similarity between the flow of our thoughts or our memories and the movie-like surface of the pond showing retrieved memory items. We recognize in both a constantly changing view that is smoothly evolving from one scene or topic to another related topic. This similarity helps understand the process behind our memory recall and our ability to think.

The answer to question 1 'How does the mind pick up information from storage that are relevant to the subject of the current thinking, and how does it avoid becoming cluttered by irrelevant information ?':

Search of memory by clue at the cell level is the mechanism by which the relevant memory information is retrieved. Cells reuse the retrieved information as clues for further search, which allows more comprehensive memory recovery. Periodically the brain network receives from each cell the current cell information, then selects clues to be dispatched to the memory cells and used for further searches.

Cluttering by irrelevant information is kept low within the cell and at the brain network by the use of short memories. At both levels the contents of a short memory is used to retain items of special interest as well as any information related to the intended target of the thought. Items in the short memory are used to reinforce related clues used in memory searches.

When we are actively trying to observe the details of an object, or when we are making a deliberate effort to tackle a thinking task, the contents of our short memory helps maintain our memory searches within the target. At other times the chain of thoughts slowly and aimlessly changes from one topic to another, usually related, topic. This is the case when we are standing in a long lineup waiting, having no intention to think about any particular topic.

If we are preparing to go to work in the morning and want to decide which of two dresses to wear, our short memory contain the clues to our need and our thoughts are likely to remain centered around the need to decide what to wear. We do occasionally switch to thoughts that are not closely related, but not much time is wasted until the clues from our short memory help reintroduce the target topic by way of favoring related search clues.

In the analogy to the surface of the pond, the movie like scene we observe is less likely to change to a completely different scene because the components representing the need to select a dress is retained at the surface and cause other related items to appear. This keeps our mind concentrated on dressing. Details representing past experience with the suits or details on the weather forecast may be retrieved.

The answer to question 2 'How does the mind assess the suitability of the retrieved information for adoption as part of the solution ?':

When we think with a specific purpose, we end up collecting memory items that are related to the thought item. These memory items are often inter-related between themselves, such that they serve as clues to each other, which helps keep them active, with a chance to be in short memory.

The 'affinity' attribute can be a factor in retaining an item in short memory. Here the process is likely to be based on action by a biologic mechanism.

The retention of memory items found to be relevant to the current thought is important. Evolution must have dedicated much attention to perfecting this aspect. It is likely that memory signals expressing the current thought, together with memory objects found to be relevant to the current thought, are retained in a separate short memory where fading away is slow.

The answer to question 3: 'How does the mind use its imagination to create ideas or visions that do not currently exist in memory ?':

Our creativity must rely on what exist in our memory. Our memory contain considerable amount of information, including information on processes. If we are eager to find ways to make devices do work for us, and observe the boiling water in a kettle lift its lid, our thought might lead us to imagine a heat driven closed container device.

Processes can help us create objects or adopt ideas new to our memories, never before encountered by us. We play games, drive our cars, search the field for edible plants, activities which contain large number of processes that we can adopt to other uses. If the processes are recorded in our memories with some of their details matching the search criteria, they get retrieved and become part of our thought or solution. The relation needs not be obvious, a chess move may give us the idea of how to stop a leakage.

The answer to question 4: 'How does the mind ensure consistency between the various items obtained from memory and adopted in the process of thinking.':

Consistency is taken care of mainly by recovering memory items relevant to the problems and to their solution. Logical checks that we did in the past are abundant in our memory and may have some aspects similar to the current thinking.

When we write we may notice that most words get spelled without our attention, as cell's information are enough to complete the make up of the word. Some words always bring to our minds some rules to follow or some other word to use as a sample for correct spelling. This is an indication that many cells produce certain spelling with high certainty, other cells detect the need for a correction. The thought at the brain level completes the adjustment. If the memory of the adjustment gets added to the secondary cells then the error persists in the cells with the wrong spelling. The next the cycle is repeated.

At times spelling memory leads to a bottleneck, sending us to the dictionary every time we need the spelling. That is when many cells produce a clear acknowledgement of uncertainly regarding two possible spellings of a specific word. At the brain level other cells manage to bring the memory of past hesitation. Both groups show vivid memory, without a clue to the result from looking up the work in the dictionary. This persistent conflict rarely occurs. Cells are independent individuals cooperating. Occasionally the cooperation suffers from limitations.

Persistent conflict can occur at the brain level, such as when we never manage to remember the name of a person. We retrieve vivid memories of us struggling to remember the name, memories strong enough to overshadow the memory of the person's name even when a lead to it does exist.

When writing a cheque at the beginning of a year we tend to write the date with the previous year unless we train ourselves to think of the change when we look at the date field. Here we have extensive memory information of the change of year which are not reached through search by clue. The reason is the large number of leads to writing the old date. In addition, the information on the new year may reside on different cells. Other cells may come up with corrections at the brain level, otherwise the problem can remain undetected.

An animal, thirsty and hungry, notices food in one direction, water in the opposite. If the conflict is not detected, the animal will move towards one of the targets without considering that the other attraction will be at disadvantage. The decision to make a move is reached after a long series of memory recalls. In reality the flow of thought will be influenced by the feeling of hunger as well as the short memory that contains the reference to the food and water that was observed. Soon the same memories will be found applicable to both except for the direction to move. That is when memories of conflict will emerge. Not necessarily conflict in direction, other of conflict memories will serve to start bringing timing conflicts and related considerations. The decision will rely of past solutions and on the relative 'affinity' of the two attractions.

If we are planning a weekend outing, a clue may lead us to annoying insects encountered in a previous trip. Other clues bring up information that the intended location is insect free. Apparently we possess the ability to make these two items become less active in our short memory, however the insect memory has the clue to annoying factors which brings the memory of rain. This one remains active in our thought of a trip. Ultimately our thought will end up with a the thought of the outing, some possible problems and many possibilities of enjoyable time. The whole collection will be a bag of discrete unrelated objects. Consistency is not necessary.

The conclusion : There exists no consistency checking mechanism. Instead, thinking relies on past experience of inconsistencies and solutions, successes and failures. Most inconsistencies get detected by recalling conflict information from the past. inconsistency in our thoughts is the norm rather than the exception.

The answer to question 5: 'How does the mind evaluate the importance of the various aspects ? This is necessary to avoid bad decisions.':

The mind does not have a mechanism for logic. If it did, we would think logically except when there is a malfunction. As it is, all we can do is try our best to keep our thinking logical using a variety of ways and tricks. We tend to deny that our performance is mediocre. Our best performance is when we adhere to well defined rules like maths. Past experience and thoughts are relied upon. These are obtained from memory.

Evolution put considerable efforts in improving the mind's ability to make successful decisions. Survival depends on it. This resulted in very complex brains structure. Much earlier in evolution, cell logic attained a high level of perfection. Both cell logic and brain organization contribute to providing the logical thinking we need.

The brain's contribution is likely to be in the emplacement of information under consideration depending on a large number of criteria, determining the way information is channeled into multiple short memories, sorting the information by their types and organizing their use by priorities. As usual in biological functions, this aspect is very complex and very effective. Biological aspects are not probed in this article.

The role of cells is to identify and produce for the brain the relevant information in their memory. They attempt not to overlook useful information, prioritize the information, and select those to be presented to the brain.

Extensive search by clue is the mechanism used to get at the relevant information in storage. Cells are guided by the clues received from the brain to set target for the searches and to determine the relevance of the information.

Short memory areas within the cell serve to hold the more relevant information and allow the use of such information as clues for extensive memory searches. Evolution provided techniques for efficiency in detecting relevant information and for making the best use of what is retrieved.

The 'affinity' attributes have an important role in determining the importance of a memory item and the way it relates to other items. Our logic relies heavily on 'affinity' both at the cell level and at the overall brain's processing.

Brain's logic is unpredictable. This is because a large number of biological conditions and processes are factors in brain's function. For the same reasons its logic is not repeatable: different conclusions can be reached even when similar conditions exist.

At the individual cell level the logical results are always predictable when fed with the same clues. They are repeatable for genetic information because the information remains constant. With life time information the contents differ from cell to cell.

Let us consider a person deciding on the price to offer for the purchase of a house, assisted by reports on nearby properties sold and relying on personal knowledge. The potential buyer starts with a vague estimate of the price, grabs one of the reports and looks at a particular detail. The sensed (visual) information from the detail reaches the brain, then reaches memory cells as clues to retrieve related memory information.

At the cell level extensive memory retrieval occur at a very high speed. The signals from the brain network prevail and keep the retrieval by clue focussed on those signals. Some of the retrieved memories would have strong 'affinity' qualifier, the cell's biological sensing mechanism is aroused and results in the particular memory persisting and retrieving further related memory. This allows the particular item better chance of being considered and being produce for the brain at signal sending time. When it is time for the memory cells to feed back the result of their memory search, the information sent back is influenced by how close the memory items are to the clues received and by the strength and type of the ' affinity' qualifiers.

Brain cells receive such signals from a large number of cells. Their function is to select the signals to be adopted for distribution to all memory cells. This function is largely in the biological domain, beyond the scope of this article. It is possible that those brain cells act similarly to the memory cells, by assessing the 'affinity' qualifiers and deciding on priorities to information received from several memory cells.

The potential buyer's mind goes on to consider other aspects of the that report detail, aspects that are related and arrived at through search by clue. The aspects considered include relevance, importance. All along the 'affinity' qualifier of that detail of the report is adjusted. A few seconds later enough search is done to give the feeling that the detail is sufficiently assessed and, if applicable, the 'affinity' qualifier of the house pricing is adjusted. The tentative price itself may be adjusted.

The decision to end examining the particular detail and possibly move to another detail or another report is complex but not important in relation to this subject. It may be triggered by an interrupting thought, or just the chain of thoughts leading to a new topic, and it may involve a quick series of thoughts on topics that may be related to house evaluation, but not necessarily so.

As the buyer examines other details of the particular report and details in other reports, the 'affinity' attached to the tentative pricing gets adjusted many times.

The potential buyer may continue to dig information from memory and look at report details as long as the desire to improve the 'affinity' on the target price is high.

There is no mechanism to insure a final conclusion that is logical, but the thinking process described above offers the best chances of well balanced results. Any apparent contradiction in thoughts would trigger the retrieval of related memories of contradictions and of related memories of remedial action. The 'affinity' considerations are effective in steering the thoughts so that adjustments are made where necessary.

Human memory and intelligence, and those of many other species, are very complex. This attempt to describe their mechanisms is not intended to present them as facts. It is intended to produce some possible explanations in order to support the notion of non-biological information storage.

7. Knowledge within the cell

We instinctively tend to think of organisms as entities consisting of parts organized in systems of various functions, while the cells are the building blocks.

A different view is that organisms are no more than the group of cells they are made of, cells attached together and working in cooperation in the common interest. No hierarchy in authority, cells are equal, no master cells and slave cells. Hierarchy is not needed because cells rely of the identical genetic information. We can think of cells like bees or ants, they function well without chiefs and administrators to give orders.

There is no substantial difference between the above two views, since both acknowledge that organisms consist of cells and only cells. However, the first implies a major restructuring during the transition from single cell to multi-cell, while the second view assumes this transition is minor. I will adopt the second view. Evolution does not venture into major restructurings.

The function of information storage is performed exclusively within cells. Each cell contains a vast array of information storage that contains the genetic information. Cells can maintain additional storage areas for life time information, as most cells do.

Information retrieval occur in cells at all times, mostly in the area of genetic information. Movements of information signals between the different areas of the cell occur at all times. Transfer of information between cells occur through the cell to cell walls and to remote location via specialized nerve cells.

Mass dissemination of information to cells occur through the release in the blood stream of trace chemicals which cells are capable of detecting and interpreting.

Sense cells specialize in detecting external conditions, and describing them in signals that may be communicated to other cells. The signals are not generated, they are copies of signals obtained from the genetic code. Examples are light detecting cells and heat detecting cells.

All cells carry on numerous internal activities relying on genetic information. Other sources of information applied to internal activities are derived from analyzing the environment, mainly blood contents, and from communications by neighboring cells. Some cells can receive communication through motor nerves. Others cells are specialized sense cells. It is the genetic code that determine cell specialization at the time they are formed, depending on their location. The routine activities are also determined by the genetic code.

Cells retrieve genetic information similarly to our memory retrieval, using clues and short memory. Cells do it considerably faster. This is because our memory recalls have to travel through the brain's network of nerves several times. Genetic information objects, like life time memory, include 'affinity' qualifiers. Cells use them to do logical reasoning. Cell's reasoning is similar to ours but much faster and more efficient. In other words, cells are intelligent. They do not possess awareness as we do. Their logic is accurate. Cells reach the same conclusion when investigating the same problem because they rely on identical copies of the genetic information.

Molecules of the cell genes contain the information storage. The genes' relation to genetic information is like library shelves to text in the books on those shelves. Both are copied during reproduction, but the genetic information contents change more often than the gene chemical structure. Therefore there is no guarantee that genes of the same structure contain the same genetic information.

The genetic information is cumulative. It does not contain the blue print of the structure of the organisms, nor a set of rules. It contains the recorded history of trials and error, what was done and gave satisfactory results, what was done and failed, what to avoid or guard against. The cells that specialize in reproduction can add to the genetic information, but they do so sparingly. They exercise life-long logical thinking on how to improve the genetic code. Any changes made rely on understanding the desired effects and a fair knowledge of the expected consequences.

At times of major changes in the exterior environment the addition of information to the genetic code is more likely. This is necessary to allow fast adaptation. Environmental changes may trigger the reuse of old methods contained in genetic information and deemed more appropriate to the changed environment. This may look like a major mutation when in fact it is a safe reuse of known and reliable methods.

Specialized cells carry out their functions relying on understanding the actions they undertake and their effect. This explains their flexibility in coping with various conditions and circumstances.

Cells have information storage locations for life-time memory. Exact muscle movements require learning. This is in fact memory of the detailed timing and extent of movement required in the act of moving the muscle. Typing skills is improved by recording more accurate data needed to move the fingers at the right time and to the correct positions.

The life-time memory in cells serve to record information on the position of the cell within the body, the type and function of the cell, and any special circumstances the the cell my go through and is of use in the fulfillment of its function.

Nerve cells are specialized cell that can carry memory signals a long distance. It appears they can move the information in only one direction, therefore we have separate sensory and motor nerves. It appears that biological action is needed to move the memory signals, as indicated by the pulse travelling along the nerve. The information is not the pulse itself but the collection of signals moved forward by a process that happens to generate a pulse.

8. Languages

Spoken languages are late additions to our abilities. The ability to think existed long before the means of communications evolved in humans and in other species.

Let us have a close look at the raw material used in our thinking: memory objects. The ability to think makes use of memory objects contained in the cell's memory storage areas. Memory storage includes the genetic memory areas and the life-time memory areas.

We are aware that we know well some familiar objects such as words of the language we speak, or a well familiar face. Other objects may be unknown or of a hazy meaning. We attribute the difference to learning. In reality the difference is this: for well known objects many cells respond immediately to a search-by-clue, coming back with plenty of information. For a hardly known object little information is available from the memory cells, therefore the brain has to do several iterations of searches and clue updates, which is thinking, in order to guess the meaning. We learn the words of a language when memory cells accumulate sufficient information on the words to satisfy our needs.

Our learning is accomplished when cells contain the complete information needed. If the cell's information is incomplete the brain has to resort to search by clues to resolve the missing details. That is when we feel we do not know or we are not sure about our knowledge.

At the cell level there is no such a thing a learning. Cells lack the sense of awareness that we have, and the sense of the ability to learn that we have. What cells hold for us about a word that we learn is the complete history of our encountering the word.

We know words by relying on the contexts where they were used, and the cells have all that bulk of information to rely on and give us the illusion that we learned the word.

The above is true of all our learning, including our concepts. This covers everything we know since we started life, including pre-birth learning. This means all cell knowledge is based on other previous knowledge, going back to the time of conception. At that point the only memory that existed was the genetic memory. Therefore everything we learn relies on signals in use by the genetic memory.

There may appear to be a contradiction here: cells have intelligence, but no awareness and are not capable of learning anything. Anything the cells record has to be traced back to the signals used in the genetic code in order to be meaningful. How do cells make use of the genetic code if they cannot learn the meaning of its signals ?

The answer: intelligence is easy to achieve by biological support, but no way could be found to allow learning using biological support. Intelligence relies on the process of search-by-clue for memory recalls, on the 'affinity' attributes that our logic managed to establish, and the biology capabilities adapted to sense and assess, and on short memory to hold memory items of interest. Our intuitive concepts tell us that learning is very common and real, but that is based on an illusion.

There is a major difference between our concept of the words of our language that have meaning to us and words (signals) of the genetic code. Some words of the genetic code have direct significance to cells because of their capacity to initiate biological action or influence cell functions. Other genetic words can be interpreted as combinations of the words with direct significance.

The likely mechanism by which genetic signals are detected and interpreted by the biological elements of the cell is the detection of similarity between the incoming signals and a copy of the signals held by those cell elements. The scattered signals held by the biological elements for comparison serve like a dictionary of the language of the genetic code.

Our thoughts use the signals of the genetic code. The words of our languages exist only in the life-time memory of specialized cells, the memory cells of the brain. The signals in this memory rely on signals of the genetic code.

To the cell, a signal is meaningful only to the extent that it can call for cell action or for cell response. As cells gained new capabilities through evolution, such as sensing physical events, evaluating time, distinguishing between strong and weak signals, or recognizing danger, new signals were adopted to be associated with these new capabilities. These signals are the words of the genetic code language.

At the time of mutation when a new capability is attempted, a random memory pattern is adopted to be the signal that correspond to it. The signal is useful only because the cell keeps copies of it and can detect a match between its copy and the retrieved signal from memory. Therefore a genetic language word is a pattern of signals recognized by one or more of the cell's biological interfaces because these interfaces hold copies of the signal, and because they are able to sense a match between the copy they hold and the copy retrieved from the genetic memory or the life-time memory of the cell.

All signals in the genetic memory and the life-time memory are of the type described above. Cells are not capable of attributing meaning to signals. Cells are incapable of learning. Learning exists only in our perception.

9. Implications

These views on cell knowledge are intended to produce plausible explanations that support the notion of non-biological information storage and use.

If this notion is valid then much of present day research efforts are being wasted and will continue to be wasted until the basic assumption of non-biological information storage and processing is accepted. Scientists are looking in the wrong direction in their search for solutions. Many scientific fields are affected, in particular medicine and other life sciences.

The notion of cell knowledge needs to be verified. Multi-discipline involvement is necessary. The purpose if to assess cell knowledge applicability and to point to the necessary adjustments.

Examples where cell knowledge provides useful explanations:

  1. Mutation.
    The debate between the traditional proponents of Darwin's theory of evolution relying on random mutation, on one side, and the advocates of 'intelligent design' or 'directed mutations', on the other side, remains unresolved. This debate is at the root of the topic of 'cell knowledge'.
    Is evolution based on random mutations ? As long as the process is not understood, the assumption ought to be that living organisms' ability to select mutations is comparable to their amazing capabilities in other aspects of life.
    It is clear that organisms come up with the desired mutations faster and more reliably than a random process would allow.
    Cell knowledge allows those cells involved with reproduction to add useful information to the genetic memory. These cells use their logical capabilities to assess the merits of the addition. When making these decisions, those cells make use of life-time information received from other cells and saved in the cell's memory.

  2. Differentiation of species.
    Cell knowledge maintains the genetic code in the form of cumulative information. No blue print. Major mutations are very rare. What looks to us as a complete transformation of an organism is usually a mere reuse of historic genetic information reintroduced in order to adapt to changing conditions.
    We can think of the genetic information as a very large collection of know-how items. Each generation tend to make selections mainly similar to those of the previous recent generations. If conditions do not change the same combination of dominant choices is selected. This is reflected in stable make up of the organism.
    In times of stress, other combinations of know-how are considered. Past practices in a few areas of the design can be revived, to be combined with the more recent and successful advances in other areas. New combinations have their own risks, which is far lower than the risk of attempting completely new methods. To us the species appear to be adapting by evolving very rapidly. They appear to be doing it with remarkable success. This is factual, but it would not be possible without the know-how in the genetic memory and without the cell's selection logic.
    The occasional discovery of an organism thought to be extinct may be a similar phenomenon. Likewise, a major gap in the fossil records of a species may be due to a mere transformation of the structure due to reusing historical genetic information.

  3. Convergent evolution.
    Observations of branches of species that include similar varieties of sub-species are common. It looks as if nature introduced the same mutations to two different species as they were subjected to similar set of environmental conditions.
    At times such similarities are very close. Nevertheless, researchers attributed the phenomenon to nature's tendency to adopt the same solution when facing similar needs in similar environments. Inventing the same solution yes, but relying on random processes, no. There must be enough know-how information collected in the past before branching out in order to expect finding very similar solutions.
    We can assume that the designed solutions were never adopted before branching out, otherwise readopting them would be simply off the shelf information being reused. What the two branches must have in common is no more than a large number of very elementary know-how details.
    As an example we can think of two engineers who graduated from the same engineering school separately working on a design to solve a new problem never encountered before. It would not be surprising if they come up with similar design. In the case of evolution, the teaching school is the know how learned from trials, failures and success from t he early development of organisms from single cells to multi-cells up to the point when speciation led to the specific branching out. The new design is produced more rapidly than random mutation would allow, with far less risks of failure.

  4. Medicine.
    Major adjustments in most aspects of medicine are inevitable.

  5. Capabilities of living organisms.
    The complexities of the functions performed by living organisms is phenomenal. The flexibility required for these function under varying circumstances and the perfection attained by the organism is unlikely to rely on preset automation.
    With cell knowledge, cell perform their functions relying on information in the genetic memory, on communications from other cells, and on their ability to make logical decisions. Some cells make use of their life time memories.

  6. Human memory and logic.
    The functions of the memory and intelligence have been so far treated as mysteries. With cell knowledge, the two are united and likely explanations produced, relying primarily on cell memory and logic.
    A better understanding of these functions is needed in the fields of education, business (marketing), and medicine. Every person is affected, mostly in a beneficial way.
    When children in the early years of life are asked to make an effort to remember, what is the effect ? Their minds are likely to be busy recalling previous requests by grown ups asking them to remember, and their own failure to remember. Repetition of such requests may cause the accumulation of substantial memories on failed efforts to remember. While they are doing this their minds are busy doing useless work. If they are lucky their minds will pick up a clue to the target and get at the desired memory. Otherwise they would be accumulating more unpleasant memories to clutter their thoughts whenever they are asked to remember something.
    Let us look into a case of children learning multiplication of single digit numbers. When they are asked to multiply two specific numbers their minds may starts doing assessments and calculations, they will ultimately reach at a figure, and they will retain some of the process in cell memories. Future attempts will be completed faster. If they concentrate on aspects around the need to remember, and wait for the answer to pop up in their minds, they need help in correcting their approach. The solution is to asked each child what they did to get at the answer. It is likely to be a wild, 'round about' method. It should be judged acceptable and encouraged, ludicrous as it may seem. Soon memory cells will go through the 'round about', inefficient process, and come up with the immediate answer. The child will have the impression of achieving the intended learning.
    With the 'cell knowledge' in mind, it would be interesting to revisit the idea of unnoticeable subliminal messages on TV and test the validity of their effect..
    Also, hypnotism may be better defined if the mechanism behind it is understood.

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