Tag Archives: mattias desmet

Pathologies: Mass Hysteria and Auto-Immune Disease

Palacky University, Olomouc, Czechia
Biosemiotics Gathering June 26, 2022

Abstract My research has long been focused on trying to understand creativity from a Biosemiotic perspective. According to my theory of biosemiosis, a system is capable of intentional behavior insofar as the effect of its response to a sign tends to reinforce that type of response to that type of sign. This entrains the system to achieve its goal (it’s always sort of backward looking), but due to the flexible nature of signs, room for creative improvement exists insofar as chance structures can be harnessed as signs to achieve new goals (or same goals via new means). Significantly, the kind of chance I am looking at is not random; it is constrained by the relative similarity and relative proximity of the biological signs.

The other side of creativity by such biosemiosic means is pathology, e.g., mass hysteria, auto-immune disease, and unhealthy addictions. Óscar Castro García, J. Augustus Bacigalupi and I (2021) recently looked at the biosemiosic mechanisms underlying what could be called learned pathological behavior of slime mold. The world has lately witnessed similar kinds of pathology in the “mass formation” behavior, noted by psychologist Mattias Desmet (2022), that has arisen from propaganda related to the pandemic. Desmet’s theory is supported, I believe, by Continue reading