Ever since I saw “Star Wars”, I have been wondering about whether the Force is real or not. Now, I am talking about something which takes chaos, in the form of garbage, and turns it into complexity, in the form of life. I am also including the effect noted when two or more people work together, and they produce more than they could working separately. Also on the table is the effect of people focusing their attention on something as a group, and the power of emotional thinking. We are searching for some explanation of why the Cosmos is expanding at an increasing rate, and, faced with evidence which seems irrefutable, we postulate something called ‘dark energy’. We can’t see it, but its effects are obvious. The Life Force is the same.
The Life Force is the opposite of entropy, which tears everything down. Entropy is enshrined in a the second law of thermodynamics, if I understand things correctly, and is therefor accepted as a real thing. Shouldn’t there be a way of expressing what we feel in the spring time, or how the stars have created what makes up our bodies? We call these things ‘mystical’, or ‘spiritual’, as if to deny them scientific validity. Just because we don’t know how to measure it does not mean that it doesn’t exist.
There seems to me to be a tension between energy and emptiness, with both trying to overcome the other. Energy doesn’t just try to expand into the emptiness, it strives to fill the emptiness completely. And the emptiness doesn’t just envelop the energy, it tries to absorb it, assimilate, make it uniform, empty. So the Life Force may have started when hot hydrogen burst into existence in the middle of Emptiness. The spiral that we see so often in nature is this tension expressed, a visual representation of the Life Force.
This duality is seen throughout the universe, a demonstration of what it is that makes us what we are.
Life is an emergent property of chemicals. Chemistry is an incredibly rich field, with molecules capable of doing all sorts of truly amazing things. The fact that there are molecules that can reproduce themselves is the key to life. Once you’ve got that, Katy bar the door.
For whatever it’s worth, the life force appears very much like a real thing. It takes a really advanced science and technology to be able to perform the actual experiments that demonstrate that it isn’t, after all, real.
To anyone who is just out for a walk in the forest, the illusion of the life force is overwhelming and convincing. It is still a central part of the way we think as we go about our everyday lives (just as “The sun goes up and the sun goes down” also is.)
Just because you understand something in a mechanistic way doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate its complexity or beauty or think of it in a poetic sense. Indeed, you may appreciate it even more. I believe this was a major point in Unweaving the Rainbow by Dawkins.
I don’t know how seriously that was taken. The energy life consumes is a rounding error on the grand scale, but it’s still interesting, I guess.
There are a variety of self organizing systems where order arises from chaos. I think life is just an extreme form of this.
In fantasy settings in books, video games, etc. the four elements are often used as a base. Sometimes fire is the energy of life. Othertimes there are additional ements like void, space, death, etc. or life, spirit, and so on. Sometimes, everything is arranged as either order or chaos. Sometimes, life is on the side of order, and chaos wants to destroy everything. Sometimes life is on the side of chaos because perfect order would be a dead crystal, so chaos beats in the heart of life. Or life is a battle or dance between chaos and order, a delicate balance. Although fun, it’s probably a good idea not to confuse any of that with real world science.
Although I don’t believe in a mystical life force, I think it should be pointed out no one has as yet generated a synthetic life form from scratch from plain matter. Life only comes from life, and we have very little idea how life began from non-life, some of the old scientific ideas are pretty silly such as lightning hitting primordial soup etc.
Even so called synthetic life involves using an existing cell.
Even though it doesn’t exist, it almost might as well.
Yes, the substance of our universe patterns itself after life because the universe is itself alive, we and all life is part of that. Our chemistry and chemical life forms are ‘mimicking’ and come together the way they are to form life as we know it and analyze it, not because they are life, but life ‘force’ is real and substance will tend to be drawn into living patterns.