Re: Definition of character

From: Philippe Verdy <>
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2011 02:05:55 +0200

2011/7/14 Ken Whistler <>:
> So a virus is to life, kind of like a control code is to a character. ;-)

Viri are undoubtly part of life because they have an identifiable and
autonomous genome, that is replicatable (even if it requires
cooperation in an infected cell).

But there are other kind of "sub-life" entities. Just consider
ribosomes: they also have an identifiable genome (transmitted with the
female gamete in sexual reproduction, or just by sharing their
diffusion in their reproduction by division of their host cell).

There are other non-conventional forms, and notably the "prion" which
is much more similar to what a control character is to a character. In
fact it is a special variant of proteic form conformance, much like a
"character variant", i.e. the association of a character and a variant
selector in the UCS space, because it has exactly the same genome as
the non-prionic protein.

But as it is replicatable with this unconventional form and
effectively identifiable by its distict properties (for example the
prion that cause the "mad cow" disease is hydrophobic, only because
the hydrophyle action sites are no longer accessible in its folded
form). The fact that this form is replicatable is that other hydrophic
action sites are enabled instead, which causes other proteins to be
produced, similar to toxins, that will reinforce their presence to
conformize other initial proteins that normally would adopt the
non-prionic form if there was no such proliferation of this.

You may also ask ourself if ases (hormones) are life. As they directly
affect the reproduction/replication of the genome and condition their
life or death, and can be produced by genes shared across a lot of
species, you could also say that life starts at the point of the gene,
instead of the full genome.

In my opinon, a control character is to a character much more like an
isolated gene (or the generated protein) compared to a normal
character that represents a lot of variants (including glyph

A protein itself is not life by itself because it has no genomic
structure by itself, even if it may have several variants sharing the
same originating genomic structure (the gene) : the various ADN or ARN
forms of these proteins, plus their (possibly multiple) stable folding
states, and their excitation states (caused by the presence of other
chemical or proteic environments, or by radiations and/or
temperature); all these variants may be similar to what are glyphs to
the abstract characters.

And for me, a conventional living cell or virus is much like what we
call a grapheme cluster. All animal and vegetal cells contain several
genomes: their ADN, plus the ARN of their ribosomes, plus some other
possible genome-like structures of other granulocytes contained in the
cell and which may be the result of an archaic protovirus, or left in
the cell by actual virus, or by the degradation of former cells (in
fact the ADN only summarizes a part of the properties of the full
genome of such cells, before their specialization in a full body for
multicellular species).

Chromosomes, that are part of this conventional genome, are much like
words in the world of characters. Living cells are much like sentences
(including their punctuation, to which I would compare the ribosomes
or other granulocites...).

A "individual" full living body is then much like a complete text,
i.e. a book or an issue of a journal. If you identify this individual
only to its ADN, it's just like if you just described the text only by
its title, its author and year of publication. If you identify this
text by an ISBN number, it's exactly like when you identify an
individual with a social security number, or veterinary tracking
number. If you identify the individual with its photo, it's exactly
like when you identify a text by a scan of a printed book containing
that text in its rendered state, as it was found a specific item in a
library or book collection.
Received on Wed Jul 13 2011 - 19:08:24 CDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Wed Jul 13 2011 - 19:08:25 CDT