For the complex life processes to become an experience, an engaged self is needed.

Antoni Kepinski's idea of information metabolism, along with Carl Jung's Personality Types, figures largely into modern personality classifications such as Socionics, developed by Lithuanian researcher Aušra Augustinavičiūtė

Information Metabolism

For Kępiński, the general philosophical approach to the human being is based on biological and evolutionary assumptions. It is related to the original concept of energetic-informational metabolism.

  • informational metabolism connects subjective and social levels of experience -- the human being "in-the-world" -- with biological, even thermodynamical aspects of our relations with the environment.
  • Information metabolism raises the question of what comprises a full and healthy existence.
  • At the center of Kępiński's work is the conception of energetic-informational metabolism, emphasizing human belongingness in the animal world.
  • Each organism is an autonomous system self-organizing processes. Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela called it an autopoietic system,one capable of reproducing and maintaining itself. as in the self-maintaining chemistry of living cells.
  • The world and the organism determine each other; the organism–environment boundary must be permeable to some extent.
  • Language belongs to the evolutionary history of the human being. It depends on the physiological processes of our body and sometimes on large-scale technological systems. But only through language human beings are able to explain their experience in living and assimilate them to the inter-subjective social world.
  • The world is shared with other people; in order to achieve a particular goal or restructure the environment, there is a need for external structures or tools.
  • Some primordial symbols are present or deeply rooted in the animal world. Kępiński makes an attempt to find the primary sources of real human values, like egoism and love, in two biological laws of energetic metabolism.
  • The idea of informational metabolism does not suggest a Computational Theory of Mind or Representationism like in the classical cognitive sciences. Instead, it is a concept of an environmental mind where knowing is strictly connected with action. Knowledge is not a kind of belief but an effect of practical experiential engagement in reality.
  • The organism consumes energy and utilizes it to produce order by transforming that energy into movement, chemical substances and heat released to the natural world (entropy).

“For the complex life processes, especially informational metabolism processes, to become an experience, engaged self is needed” - Kępiński 1981

  • The self is a reference point for time and space coordinates and even for value hierarchy. However, conscious mind has no access to all the organism’s activities, and most of them appear in habitual forms.

  • In Kepinski's view: "one of the basic aims of human activity is to impose man’s own internal order upon external reality, to materialize his own models / projects.

  • The idea of free will is compatible with the deep processes taking place in our brain, following processes that select amongst available options, in accordance with our current needs and goals. This idea of human behavior resonates with conceptions of the Russian psychologist Dimitri Uznadze who claimed that the individuals are involved in the practice of conscious cognition when processes of habitual forms of behavior which do not require consciousness, encounter problems and obstacles.
    Elżabieta Stawnicka supports Kępiński’s theory of four subjective functions of the self (Antoni Kępiński’s Human Philosophy 1999):

    1. Controlling and adaptive, in which the self, like the Freudian ego, coordinates and delivers the information proceeding from the body and environments.
    2. Arranging and selective, expressed in the acts of free will and in the effort of the choice of a suitable behaviour.
    3. The condition of personal identity: in spite changes in the dynamics of the psyche and in the environment itself.
    4. The protective function of the self: the natural border between me and the world.

Kępiński speaks also about the self as an object of recognition, as the effect of the introspection and self-reflection, what he calls “self-portrait”. Self-portrait is in general a distorted and partial image of the self. It is an effect of interaction with other people, social image and a kind of metaphysical projection of the ideal self into the world. Self-portrait disintegration might be a symptom of the illness development and sometimes a sign of an intensive personal or spiritual growth.


  1. Life circle, time and the self in Antoni Kępiński’s conception of information metabolism Andrzej Kapusta
  2. Antoni Kępiński and information metabolism
  3. Interview with Humberto Maturana