Dynamics of life and consciousness

Complex structures like bacteria or human societies exist far from equilibrium, in the sense that their continued existence relies on canalysing energy gradients into constructing themselves. Studying the way autonomous systems work to harness change is consequetly a guiding theme of the life sciences. Yet, our intuition of nature is often based on equilibrium assumptions, where systems react to perturbations rather than autonomously enact their own structure.

We work to expose the dynamics of life and consciousness, and how those patterns of change underly the world we perceive. How organism harness resources to constantly building their own structure, how genetic mutations and selection underly the emergence of adapted phenotype, how agents infer the structure of their niche are archetypal exemples. All instantiate dissipative dynamics, where systems integrate information about the world by self-organising into their most stable states.

Therefore, we consider that the mathematical study of self-organisation, the naturalist study of how life emerges, and the phenomenological study of what it means to be alive are deeply tied. We try to understand their relations by studying the complex multi-scale dynamics of self-construction, and synthetising existing approches to modelling the physics of life and consciousness such as homeostasis, autopoïesis, dissipative systems, autocatalytic sets, active inference, or the critical brain hypothesis.

This article was updated on June 5, 2021