TOP > About Child Science > Kodomogaku Kotohazime (1998-2000) > The Importance of "Information" in the Development of the Individual


The Importance of "Information" in the Development of the Individual

I would like to discuss the fifth principal of "interaction" as the final principal in the developmental process. Development is heavily influenced by interactions of various kinds beginning from the cell stage to becoming an individual.

As I have explained in a prior article, the scenario of development is scripted into the gene. Since life emerged on this earth four billion years ago, the gene has been programmed with various types of information acquired through the long history of biological, physical and human evolution.

Life of a human begins with the sperm that hardly has a cytoplasm combining with the cytoplasm rich ovum. The fertilized egg is a combination of those genes and the process of life begins. Furthermore, the fertilized egg is vitalized by the interaction with the cytoplasm and cell-division takes place.

The experiment of the clone sheep exemplifies the start of the cell-division of the fertilized egg due to the interaction with the cytoplasm of the ovum. An ovum is taken from a certain female sheep and put in the nucleus of the body cell of a sheep of the same species of which the ovum has yet no nucleus. This new ovum is then cultivated and placed inside the womb of another female sheep to grow. The nucleus that was placed in the ovum is vitalized through the interaction with the surrounding protoplasm and the genes begin to work. Through the information passed on through the genes, one fine sheep develops in the transplanted womb and is born. This is basically the same process that is seen in the nucleus of the fertilized egg when activity begins through interaction.

The fertilized egg makes two cells through cell-division as described above to show the increase as 2x2x2xx2. These cells interact with each other to influence the development of each other and the surrounding cells. When the cells begin to multiply in this way and interact accordingly, the genes begin to change their pattern of the activity and influence the development of the cells, organs and eventually the fetus until development inside the womb is complete.

In the development of the internal organs, the interaction between the cells in close proximity with each other is especially important. For example, in the development of the eyeball, at the onset of brain development brings about a process which takes information from the brain and puts it aside so that later, this little "embryonal tissue" can become an eye as the bran cells interact with the cells of the eye cup to form the lens.

Various hormones kick into place when the body is developing, but even the secretion of these hormones is controlled mutually. There is a mechanism to quicken secretion or to repress it, which varies for each hormone. This mechanism reacts with external "information" or messages and the secretion is regulated through fine-tuning. The existence of even the chemical substance that controls it is clear.

The growth hormone that is most important for growth is secreted from the anterior section of the pituitary gland. There are other hormones, also, such as the hormones secreted from the thyroid glands or adrenaline from the adrenal glands all work mutually, interacting with each other for growth. Furthermore, growth is controlled by the circadian cycle, sleep patterns, blood sugar level by interacting with each other.

When observed on the human level, the child's development is heavily influenced by the child's interaction with his/her surroundings. In particular, the inter-personal relations and interactions with the society or culture are large factors.

This is exemplary of the mother and child interaction that I have expressed many times before. Let me explain again. When the baby is hungry, s/he sends out a signal (to cry) which sets off a series of actions by the mother which the baby also reacts to. When the mother hears the baby cry, she sweeps up her baby in her arms and gives her nipple so the baby can have breastmilk. This is the mother's signal that acknowledges the baby's signal. The baby, then, drinks happily from his/her mother's breast and smiles or expresses satisfaction by cooing or by some movements of the arms and legs. The mutual reaction and understanding of the mother and child relates the mother's affectionate feeling to the baby and the baby in turn, returns this affection forming a strong bond between the mother and child with the exchange of these initial signals. The child then fells a sense of satisfaction and liveliness (joie de vivre) and the principles of development begin to fall into place.

I strongly believe that the principles of development are influenced by the interaction at all levels beginning with the cell, organization of the genes, and the development of the internal organs. When you think about it, it seems that "information" of various kinds is the mediators that allow for smooth interactions. In the case of cells growing into organs, it is information that calls a hormone to act or to set into motion, a mutual interaction to cause vitalization etc. of the cell. Even on the human level, interaction is set into motion through information of the voice or movement. This information is not always just logical information, but also, the individualized emotional information of affection or gentleness. Furthermore, one interaction produces new information one after another to make new waves in development.
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