Thu 16 Apr, 2009 08:05 pm
Nature's Warp-Ship Life
There remains at least one major area of thought that we humans today are as backwards in as were our ancestors who believed the world was flat and that the sun and stars orbited the earth. That is on the topic of the nature of life. Only, unlike our ancestors we don't have the excuse of not knowing much of anything. The following is my small contribution to those who feel a desire to understand the truth of life.
I've always wondered why the known universe is as unreasonably huge as it is. It's size together with certain laws of physics, namely the speed of light and the mass-energy limitations on reaching light speed only deepens the apparent inconsistency with the rest of the natural world.
Nature which I'm sure we could all agree is completely practical (by definition) in its execution and design. Even when we are unable to grasp the complexity of it we know that the eventual solution, once realized, will be at least practical if not downright elegant. So how to account for the unreasonable expanses of space-time in which matter and energy exist. It is somewhat like living on Earth but the laws of physics limited us to traveling as far as the boundaries of our house. We could look out at the trees and hills and sky in the distance but could fundamentally never go there. I'll get back to this later.
Then there is life. Just as much a puzzle as is the size of the universe. Just as we once knew the Earth was flat simply because it looks flat from our vantage point, likewise most of us are pretty sure that life is flat. We know of birth, life, and death. I know life seems flat to all of my senses, and in the absence of any extra dimensional vehicles like an airplane or rocket it doesn't seem likely that we will see the truth of life in the same practical way as we did the round earth. However, nature has a way of dangling the answers to most of these mysteries right beneath our noses.
Part of life, but not usually described as such, is extinction. I feel extinction holds the clue about the nature of life. The fact that any living vessel type (species) can cease to exist confirms that nature has no special regard for any particular species including humans. So this suggest to me that nature begat life either by accident of by intention by the laws and structures it hosts. So I wondered why would nature create life? How does life fit in?
In the best traditions of Albert Einstein I conceived of a mental experiment that imagines a not so farfetched mission to Mars. On this mission is a married couple that hasn't had sex in a year so the wife is not pregnant. Once settled in on the Martian surface the couple conceives a child and the wife gives birth nine months later to little Emma. So the question is how did Emma get to Mars? It's clear that everyone else got there on board the man made spacecrafts that NASA built, but the baby didn't. The faithful word we use to describe the babies arrival is birth. She was born on Mars. Of course from Emma's point of view telling her that there is a planet full of humans on that little dot of light in the east Martian sky doesn't do much to explain to her how she got where she is.
Emma's consciousness originated on Mars and her journey there took no time at all. She just opened her eyes for the first time on the red planet millions of miles away from Earth. For all Emma knows Earth could just as well be billions of light years away. As a matter of fact if Emma's parents or crew weren't around to tell her how she came to be on Mars it would be quite the mystery for her, wouldn't it? Her not knowing wouldn't negate the fact that earth was out there teaming with life.
Like any good 'imagineer' I then began to alter the parameters of my mental experiment a little. I asked myself what if Emma's parents didn't arrive on mars via a NASA built spacecraft, and what if Emma wasn't even human at all. What if instead her body emerged (evolved) on Mars. Actually what if the planet wasn't Mars but some other life hosting planet that was indeed billions of light years away from earth.
From Emma's point of view not much has changed, the questions are all still the same and her circumstances are just a real as if she was on Mars with here astronaut parents, or if she had opened her eyes for the first time in the OB ward at university hospital right here on good old Earth. Emma was BORN wherever she is. Just as you and I were born where we are now, third rock from the star we call Sun.
If Emma's body is anything like ours she is perhaps just as alive and conscious and aware as anything alive on earth only she is a billion light years away in a place where the laws of physics in this universe prevents us from physically ever getting to, yet there she is as surely as we are here at this very moment.
That's when it hit me in the brain pan. I realized what nature intended, why there should be this immense space-time realm with absurdly tiny living creatures of unspecified shapes that are born, live, evolve, and die. True to natures practical designs life provides the warp-ship for traveling across an eternality of space and time. With no concern what so ever about the speed of light or Einstein's mass energy buildup etc. Travel anywhere in our universe or existence for that matter is as instantaneous as little Emma opening her eyes for the first time on Mars and your just there.
The reason our vantage point doesn't permit us to see this at first is we are understandably consumed with an aspect of our existence that nature cares little about, that is the persistence of our form. That is to say, we as living creatures have a practical desire to get from here to there intact and in one life-time.
Natures design is to have us sample life a few decades or so, at a time, all over the universe (or existence) wherever life evolves by undergoing repeated birth, life and death cycles. Only when consciousness eventually emerges from this cycle somewhere in existence can we appreciate or even care about this natural design. Of course if life hasn't developed anywhere else but say, earth, you will find yourself back here repeatedly until it does as is the case with little Emma... first human to open her eyes on another world.
Of course the design of the vessel (body) you find yourself in from natures perspective is just one that happens to be available. As I'm sure you must realize extinction can occur as randomly as a falling chunk of left over rock crashing from the sky. Just ask the dinosaurs. So lest you are overly attached to the body your in don't be. It is quite telling that there are so many other vessel designs not to mention all the species that have evolved and since gone extinct right here on this planet let alone the untold possibilities that may lie elsewhere. It is clear that opening your eyes for the first time as human is as much a dice toss as any other. This truth leads to some interesting conclusions, for example what if humans that come to understand this aspect of nature decide we only want to ever be human . That is to say get human bodies. Logically the only way to do that would be to make sure no other bodies, besides human bodies, exist anywhere. Hope fully we would realize that this would be a fool's errand since nature as closed that loophole with the size of the universe and applicable speed limits. We could never get everywhere to extinct everything.
Also I came to see that time, if there actually is such a thing, is irrelevant in natures warp-ship life design. As with Emma as well as all living things the time after any death and before any birth, be it microseconds or much longer is totally irrelevant since we only experience awareness when we are alive. The practical effect of this is that consciousness is an eternal experience whether we realize it at the time or not. Since you only have the opportunity to be conscious wherever, whenever you find yourself in an evolved vessel (body) like the one you are in right now(I say this because at this point I don't believe all life is conscious or self aware.). I suspect this happens all over the universe, but this would remain so even if the universe had to re-bang and reconstitute itself and reform life bearing planets all over again before you can take another breath. Make no mistake we know this has happened at least once already.
We tend to feel very attached to the Earth and our little solar system, but I get the feeling that our stay in this neck of the woods is like a short stay at a resort hotel on one of those much too short vacations we take from time to time.
This line of thought reveals the truth whether it fits in with our social needs for seeing life of not. I suspect nature couldn't care less.